Donald Trump began his campaign against the “fake news” media- the same media that covered his every move and has been criticized for providing him a national platform that helped him win the election – since his presidential campaign was still well under way.
Whether or not one agrees on how much the media contributed to Trump’s win, it’s impossible to argue that he has shaken the trust in what has always been the most reputable news outlets. While studies show that a majority of Americans still trust those media outlets more than the president, the efforts Trump has made to discredit media outlets and misinform the American public can and will have long-term effects.
Local anchor Mary Nam at KOMO 4 in Seattle saw Trump’s tweet about Sinclair, which owns the news station where Nam works. She responded to the president’s tweet with a tweet of her own.
Sinclair Broadcasting, a company owned by the Trump-supporting, politically conservative Mercer family, owns nearly 200 local news stations and was exposed recently for scripting segments skewed to the Mercer’s, and Trump’s, political messaging. A mash-up of dozens and dozens of clips from local news broadcasts showing anchors reading the exact same script in unison. That script cast doubt on the reliability of mainstream media, calling it “fake news.”
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
Local TV news stations pushing political messages to misinform the public is a most destructive method of disseminating propaganda. While networks like Fox News purport to be “fair and balanced” but are clearly not, few think to fact-check or question their local news stations. In fact, most rely on them for fact-based news and information critical to a community, such as updates on hazardous weather conditions. The skewing of information by stations owned by Sinclair that has now been exposed will lead viewers to cast doubt on outlets that Americans should be able to trust.
It remains to be seen whether Mary Nam will still have a job on Tuesday, but her viewers expressed their appreciation of her commitment to journalistic integrity.