The War on Journalism

Journalists have a responsibility to report the truth, and Donald Trump is trying to take that away from them.

The media has essentially carried Trump through the Republican primary, giving him over 2 billion dollars in free coverage, according to the New York Times. Despite this, the media has been one of Trump’s most consistent targets for attack.

He has called the media “disgusting and corrupt” and has blamed them for his sagging poll numbers, tweeting that if it wasn’t for the media, he “would be beating Hillary by 20 percent.”

The problem for Trump is that most of these attacks are not based on fact, and in reality, he would be much worse off if it wasn’t for the press.

The “biased liberal media” are the ones who revealed and continued to write story after story about Hillary Clinton’s email controversy. They are the ones who reported on Hillary’s Benghazi hearings. They gave seemingly endless coverage to FBI Director James Comey’s criticism of Hillary over her email practices which led to the massive anti-Hillary rhetoric of the RNC Convention in Cleveland and the chants to “lock her up.” More importantly for Trump, they gave him a free platform to spread his populist message and get his word out to voters.

All the while they were doing their duty to uncover the truth and spread information to the people in a way that is fair and just.

It is true that Trump has received far more negative press than the average candidate for President, but that is simply a result of the way he is.

Politifact, a nonpartisan, Pulitzer-Prize-winning, fact-checking organization, found that 70 percent  of questionable statements from Trump have been falsehoods, while only 27 percent of Clinton’s questionable statements have been found to be false.

Trump simply doesn’t give much value to truth.

This is the man who started the birther movement saying that Obama is not a citizen, he denies the fact that climate change is happening or that there is a drought in California, he said that Obama was the founder of ISIS, he claimed that crime is rising despite it being at its lowest point in decades, he implied that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK – the list goes on.

But when journalists call him out for his falsehoods, he discounts them as being biased and, for some reason, people listen to him.

He recently has gone as far as to attack the First Amendment, tweeting that “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!”

Well, guess what Donald, by definition it is.

Just like Trump has the right to say things that are completely inaccurate, the media has the right to report on it, and it will continue to do so to ensure that people hear the truth.

Trump has set up a situation in which he grabs ahold of positive coverage and spreads it for everyone to see, but the second he is criticized he reverts back to his criticism of the media as being biased or unfair. As he benefits from free coverage, he attacks the journalists providing it.

And I would say that is truly unfair.

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Religious Freedom Bills

Last April Mississippi Governor signed a bill into law that he claimed would protect religious freedoms, yet instead of protecting people from discrimination it does the exact opposite.

Supporters of the bill have claimed that it protects “religious freedom” but the clear focus of the bill is on allowing for open discrimination against people of the LGBT community.

This bill allows for religious organizations to refuse to conduct a marriage, fire employees for their sexual orientation, and refuse to provide adoption or foster care services.

Individuals and private companies are allowed to refuse to give counseling, refuse to give housing, refuse to provide any wedding-related services, all because of someone’s sexual orientation.

After same-sex marriage was determined a universal right last summer, it is extremely disappointing that certain states are still trying to limit the rights of LGBT people, especially considering the current standing of states like Mississippi that are signing these bills into law.

According to Gallup and USA Today, Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy, highest obesity rate, third lowest graduation rate, and lowest median household income in the country, yet instead of focusing time and resources on solving major issues, they’re spending time and resources getting discriminatory bills like this one passed.

The problem is these bills hurt more than just the people who they target; they can have broader economic impacts as well.

We have seen this happen in Georgia where a similar bill was put on the Governor’s desk. That bill lead to numerous companies and groups threatening to pull out of the state, such as Coca Cola, Delta and Home Depot. Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, went on to veto that bill but that was not the case for all states.

In North Carolina, another similar religious freedom bill was passed. The reaction was not surprising, and a number of companies such as Bank of America and Lowes blasted the law, with some companies such as Paypal actually pulling investments out of the state.

America has become a very diverse and gradually more accepting nation, but these states are holding back progress and wasting time and energy trying to uphold backwards legislation.

It’s time to recognize the fact that we are all different and, regardless of what religion you follow, it’s no longer acceptable to discriminate against people who may not live the same way we do.