* * * By Dr. Mike Busler * * *
Recently, more than 300 newspapers published editorials pushing back against President Trump
and what they view as his war on the free press.
“This dirty war on the free press must end,” said Marjorie Pritchard, the Boston Globe’s editorial page deputy managing editor. “It calls for urgent action by those committed to free speech and the free press to stand against a White House and its allies who are bent on eroding a pillar of an informed democracy.”
Is the president trying to erode a pillar of an informed democracy?
Trump tweeted, “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM
OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much
of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people.
Since Trump is a businessperson rather than a politician, he seems to never be concerned with
political correctness. As a New Yorker from Queens, he is very direct and does not pull punches.
So what exactly is the president trying to say?
When Trump talks about fake news, he is referring to reporters who do not report the news
objectively, but rather through a biased lens. There are numerous instances daily in the
mainstream media (MSM) where biased reporting is clear.
A simple example can be seen when biased reporters write about the current state of the
economy. No matter how the data is spun, the economy is very strong and getting better. The
robust economy is due to Trump reducing counterproductive regulations, repealing enough of
Dodd/Frank and reducing personal tax rates for all Americans and corporations.
The MSM falsely reports that it is President Obama’s policies that are leading to the high
growth. This is clearly fake news as Obama never made economic growth a goal of his
administration. Obama’s top economic policy priority was to cure perceived social injustices,
even if that slows economic growth.
Remember Obama is the only president in history to serve a term in office without having at
least one year where economic growth was at least 3%. “2% growth is the new normal,”
Obama’s advisors told us. Crediting Obama for today’s economic growth is simply fake news.
In order for American voters to make informed decisions, we must have accurate information.
When the Russians want to cause harm to the US electoral process, they spread false
information. We view the Russians as enemies.
When the US press publishes stories that are inaccurate and/or biased, the public must make
decisions based on incorrect information. Trump says this puts the MSM in the same class as the
Russians; an enemy of the people.
Another controversial Trump position is that the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt. Trump’s
opponents say that he is trying to discredit the investigation because Trump is hiding illegal
activity. Trump knows there was no illegal activity on his part, although there is evidence
indicating conclusion between his opponent and the Russians.
Instead of Mueller investigating clear cut, hard evidence showing his opponent did indeed
collude with the Russians, Mueller is hunting for some evidence which apparently does not exist.
The dictionary defines a witch hunt as “an attempt to find and punish a particular group of
people who are being blamed for something, often simply because of their opinions and not
because they have actually done anything wrong.”
Since Trump did nothing wrong, the Mueller investigation of Trump and his campaign is a witch
hunt. Trump believes Mueller should investigate where the evidence shows illegal activity,
namely from his opposition.
As noted, President Trump is strongly in favor of a free press. However, with a free press, comes
tremendous responsibility. Reporters and even opinion writers who disagree with Trump’s
policies have the freedom to write whatever they want. But the press has a duty to be
responsible, report accurately and express opinions based on objective analyses.
Americans expect the news to be reported factually and the opinions to have sound logic behind
them. Instead, the MSM seems to have lost its way. More than 90% of the reporting on Trump is
negative. Even the facts are twisted to stress a point of view.
This is very dangerous to our Democracy. Only enemies of the US would spread false facts.
Only enemies of the US would bias an investigation with the goal of resisting and possibly
removing a duly elected president.
While the president does not state his positions in a politically correct manner, he is right. There is false news, inaccurate information is truly the enemy of the people and Mueller’s investigation of Trump looks like a witch hunt.
Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics.