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Letter: Media have rendered themselves untrustworthy

This letter was submitted to The Poly Post by Gregory Stanton, a third-year economics student in response to ‘Even student media suffers under Trump’ that appeared in the Oct. 23 edition.

The Oct. 23 edition of The Poly Post featured an article entitled “Even student media suffers under Trump” written by Christina Manuel.

The article sought to argue that the presidency of Donald Trump has directly caused the mistrust of the news media; professional and student alike.

The writer mentioned how difficult it is to find students willing to speak to journalists; even the director of the CLA building didn’t want to be interviewed by the paper.

All of this she lays at the feet of President Trump.

What Ms. Manuel fails to realize is that people don’t trust the media because the media has shown itself to be less than trustworthy.

To put it bluntly, it is exactly this type of bias (in the article) that motivates normal, everyday people to mistrust journalists, reporters and those involved with the media.

The proper way to prove someone wrong is not to complain about what they say but to build a clear strong case against them using evidence and logic.

As a student university newspaper, even the opinion section should have fact-based arguments.

The article doesn’t attempt to prove that the distrust of the media is due to the statements President Trump made in criticism of the news media, it presents it as fact.

But why should anyone believe that President Trump caused the mistrust instead of President Trump merely being the only person willing to point out the untrustworthiness of the media.

The only truthful conclusion that can be gained from the article is that some people do mistrust the media; the rest is pure assertion.

It’s no secret that a large portion of the media promote the perspective of the political left.

That will prevent many people from giving consent to be interviewed, but the seeds of mistrust didn’t begin with President Trump.

President Obama also criticized the media for pursuing profit more than pursuing truth. He routinely asked the media to be more upfront with facts instead of only reporting stories that get attention and views.

If, as the article puts it: “The intention of journalism is to inform readers with clear and accurate information to allow readers to make informed decisions on information provided,” then anyone seeking to scrutinize, challenge and even criticize the media should be more than welcome.

The biggest problem is that when the media is criticized or challenged, it is generally ignored and swept under the rug. It may not even be printed or reported on.

Ultimately though, the media should be held accountable by the public just as President Trump should be held accountable by the media.

They should be held “under constant scrutiny” for two reasons: the protection of the First Amendment and the power media hold in society by picking and choosing the stories it will report and those it will not.

Gregory Stanton

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