The Guilfordian

Filed under In Print, Opinion

World leaders need commitment to truth

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World leaders need commitment to truth

Obviously, everyone believes that those around them, especially the president, should tell the truth. But not everyone tells the truth, therefore making it the job of the people and the media to determine if a statement from the president is true. I dislike the fact that presidents lie, because every time they lie it is a disservice to our republic. However, the media must hold the president accountable in the right ways.

The video released by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders depicting the actions of CNN reporter Jim Acosta is disingenuous, but I don’t believe it was intentionally doctored. It seems like Sanders simply took a recording of a GIF created by some third party and reposted it in an effort to confuse and obfuscate. Sanders clearly acted irresponsibly and arguably lied, but I believe there are much more important issues that the White House more consistently lies about that are not discussed nearly as frequently.

When the media is outraged by President Trump breaking decorum, it only energizes his base and strengthens him. A battle over the press pass of Acosta, while a fight for the right thing, is not an issue that wins. Large swaths of America, particularly Trump’s base in the Rust Belt, don’t care if he treats reporters with respect or lies about his personal life. People care about having access to health care and improving the economy, issues where Trump is very incorrect, but is not often questioned about. Too much time is spent resisting Trump on issues that are much easier to deflect. Trump has managed to obfuscate the many failures of his administration through very clever media manipulation.

Trump made quite a few promises on the campaign trail that I personally agree with, but he has failed to deliver on almost all of them. American troops are still stationed in Afghanistan over 17 years after 9/11 while the Taliban still controls much of the country. Trump has not been the proponent of any major infrastructure legislation that could greatly boost our economy, nor has he completely dismantled the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he claimed was causing great damage to our country. Most people probably don’t know this because it simply isn’t discussed as much as some of Trump’s other controversies, but I think the importance of these lies is much greater than many of the ones the media tends to focus on. If Trump is given the opportunity to frame the debate as him against the establishment, he will always win.

I hate that the president lies to the American people indiscriminately on a regular basis, but if the media were able to effectively discuss him and the way he lies, he probably wouldn’t be the president. Trump is a master of manipulating the media, whether intentional or accidental, and playing into his framing of the media and establishment versus him and his supporters will not end well for those who seek to combat him, no matter how wrong he is.  Combat the president on his egregious policy decisions and the country will realize his deception. Spend time focusing on silly issues that only Trump’s opponents care about and he will remain in power.

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