Faced With Trump's Onslaught, Journalism Resists Giving In | El Salvador News

In this analysis, El Diario de Hoy highlights how in an era when the president of the United States. UU. rivals the media, these have resurfaced in quality and prestige, causing renewed interest in the audience.

On February 17, 2017, less than a month after assuming the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump released an aggressive message on his favorite communications channel, Twitter: “The media that spreads FALSE NEWS (the failed New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN) are not my enemies. They are the enemies of the American people. ”

This message, which should be alarming in a democratic space and time, has become a kind of norm in the politics of the American country. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), since announcing his presidential candidacy until January 2019, Trump launched 1,339 tweets against the media.

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This, far from scarring the journalistic exercise, has generated a kind of resistance from the more traditional chains, but also from alternative and digital media that have dedicated countless investigations to scrutinize the 45th presidency of the United States. Naturally, Trump has not liked him at all.

Since taking office, CPJ adds, the president has dedicated more than 11% of his messages on this social network, which has become his primary communication mechanism with his different audiences, to denigrate media, communicators in particular or to the very concept of journalism.

In fact, during his campaign the now president tended to focus on communicators in particular. Only in January 2016, when his campaign took strength, the president made more than 40 personal allusions.

Eventually his style mutilated, disqualifying the entire media, throwing his darts at the New York Times, the Washington Post or CNN. Finally, since his inauguration he has dedicated his attacks to the media in general.

Also, once elected, Trump popularized a concept: fake news. Initially, he used it to disqualify reports that indicated Russian government interference in the elections he won in November 2016. Since that time, however, he has used the concept to detract credibility from critical media with his management on almost any subject. . So much so that in the first ten days of this month, he used this concept 11 times.

This relationship with the media is no accident. President Trump is aware that his political capital comes from selling himself as an outsider, a foreigner in a system that has created huge frustrations in recent years. This system that has sold is formed by the political "establishment" that qualifies as ineffective, but also by the critical media, which it has accused of always being against it and being part of a corrupt apparatus.

This is not a new or exclusive maneuver of him. The media and the journalistic exercise have been the target of dozens of rulers throughout the world throughout history. However, Trump has managed to combine his anti-media message with a new communications platform: Twitter.

In this medium, the US president has skipped the usual protocols and formalities that surround a senior official and day after day he launches dozens of messages in which he announces, sometimes without prior notice to his advisors, his priorities and main lines of action , in addition to attacks on its political rivals inside and outside the country.

At first glance it may seem positive that Trump has an open thread of messages to his audience, but Twitter does not guarantee dialogue or accountability. Therefore, the same president who constantly attacks the media has managed to mount on a unidirectional platform that allows him to position his messages without questioning or contrast.

Not only in the US UU. pass…

The media are under attack in different corners of the world.

1. The violent Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte is known for promoting his “male” image, attacking female journalists. This has even banned all media from entering the presidential palace to prevent them from covering their acts and has armed armies of fake accounts and digital trolls to do the dirty work: disqualify the critical press.

2. One of the most notorious enemies of critical journalism is Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2013, Russia was ranked 148 out of 179 in press freedom. However, journalism has resisted. In 2016, after the unjust imprisonment of journalist Ivan Golunov, under false drug charges, hundreds of his Russian colleagues put together a campaign that forced his release. This resistance is dangerous: more than 20 journalists have been killed in the Putin era.

3. After the suicide of former Peruvian president Alan García, who was at the door of being prosecuted for alleged corruption, hundreds of digital accounts accused journalist Gustavo Gorriti of having motivated the death of the ex-president. In networks even the death of the journalist and his team was requested.

4. After revealing possible irregularities committed by the son of the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, the latter resorted to spreading false information to denigrate the journalist in charge of the information. In addition, the Brazilian president constantly calls the liars, especially in the face of critical reports.

Has the strategy been effective?

Since 2015, various media have been targets of the constant criticism of Donald Trump. However, the president's comments have not resulted in a mass exodus of the hearings, but quite the opposite: some of the most attacked media have increased their popularity and, according to some analysts, the same quality.

James Warren, head of the Washington bureau of the New York Daily News, probed the opinions of academics and journalists, and published in Vanity Fair a compendium of reasons for hope in journalism in the Trump era. Among them, that the sea of ​​misinformation has shown people, in a rebound effect, that the journalistic method is irreplaceable to get closer to the truth.

In his interviews, Warren collected some interesting testimonials. For example, Michael Tackett of the New York Times, who said that "journalists today have a renewed mission and readers a desire for the facts." Julia Keller, former Chicago Tribune and Pulitzer winner, believes that "the will to know the truth will win over ignorance and complacency with power."

The retired CBS executive, Bruno Cohen, believes that "journalism will be fine." He believes that the irruption of digital will generate chaos in the following years, but the public will get tired of the noise and smoke that good stories, and those who tell them, will prevail.

It also highlights the voice of the academic at the University of New Hampshire, Kathy Kiely, who thanks Trump for, indirectly, "doing journalism" cool "again."

And, unwittingly, he is doing it. As shown, the New York Times, which has often been subject to Trump's attacks, has experienced unusual levels of subscriptions and visits in the past three years. According to the research company ComScore, before July 2016, this medium did not exceed 80 million unique visitors per month.

After that date, this has been his flat and there have been exceptional months, such as November 2016, when the 120 million unique visits were around, or January 2017, with about 105 million.

At the beginning of 2015, this medium had one million digital subscribers and the first quarter of 2019 closed with 3.6 million. Their projections indicate that by 2025 they can reach 10 million subscribers. Likewise, the value of its shares is at the highest point of the last 14 years.

A. G. Sulzberger, director of the Times, believes there is a direct link between Trump's attacks and the rise in his environment, but calls for not to overestimate the phenomenon.

In fact, he believes that the key is that the medium has diversified. "Frankly, since he arrived (Trump) we have seen different signs that people are tired of reading about politics, the president or politics in general," Sulzberger told the Recode technology news website in June this year.

Seb Gorka, a Trump-related reporter, insults Brian Karem (on his back), a Playboy correspondent, whose White House withdrew his credential. Photo / AFP

Not only has the Times grown in this period. Its main rival, the Washington Post, reached 1 million digital subscriptions in September 2017. In January of that same year, when Trump took office, they had less than half of subscribers and in September 2016, shortly before Trump's election , only one third.

But interest in journalism is not only reflected in site visits. According to the Post, there is a resurgence of the journalism career in American universities. In prestigious institutions such as the University of Maryland, West Virginia, Syracuse (in New York), Arizona or Northwestern (in Chicago), there has been an increase of several percentage points in journalism enrollment and a renewed interest in subjects such as research or political reporting.

Journalism has not only grown on the demand side, of readers, users and future communicators. On the supply side, the newsrooms have not only resisted the attacks and attacks of the president, but have maintained a consistent research line.

This has even led to actions beyond tweets. In November 2018, CNN journalist Jim Acosta was revoked his pass to the White House. In July 2019, Brian Karem of Playboy magazine enjoyed the same fate.

In both cases, the presidency had to go back, but set the precedent of seeking to close the doors to those who carry critical questions.

In this period, the US media, now with greater audiences, have covered possible dark deals of the president with foreign governments, alleged ethical failures in how he handles conflicts of interest for his companies, possible irregularities in financing his campaign, as well as his controversies Migration policies and the separation of families at the border.

In addition, there are chains that have chosen to verify the announcements, denunciations or accusations of the president. As of August 5 of this year, according to the Washington Post, the president had said 12,019 false or inaccurate statements, that is, almost 13 lies or half-truths per day.

These coverages, as stated, have not been liked by the president who has reacted by closing doors to his administration.

In what remains of his presidency, which could well be a year or five if he is re-elected, it is possible that Trump will continue to rival the media, attacking and denouncing them of causing “division, distrust” and even wars, as he did in a tweet on August 5, 2018.

However, these seem not to give up. The newsrooms are closely following their administration and contrasting their swells of tweets, doing what the communicators are called to do: using the journalistic method to bring light to a presidency that often opts for opacity.

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