Media Are People, Too

Americans and the press always seemed to have a love-hate relationship.

Despite much of the anti-media rhetoric at play within the national dialogue, a fairly good chunk of Americans (72 percent) trust the information they receive from national news organizations, according to the Pew Research Center.

The good news is more Americans are engaged. That means more eyeballs on traditional media, and social too. In fact, Pew also reported in a recent survey that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say they get at least some of their news from social media.

Conflict and human interest is what makes news. And in today’s highly competitive 24/7-news environment, getting the proverbial scoop is going to be good for both the journalist and their respective outlets.

Sgt. Chad Watts of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries holds Madelyn Nguyen, 2, after he rescued her and her family by boat from floodwaters of in Houston. Gerald Herbert / AP

So, when Hurricane Harvey rolled around, it’s no surprise that millions watched live coverage of the category three-storm barrel through the Gulf Coast. Homes being destroyed and acts of heroism provided much needed drama that kept viewers engaged.

It’s hard to say how far a journalist will go to get a good story. Many correspondents are often confronted with ethical dilemmas of interfering with their own reporting.

Veteran journalist Will Bunch touched upon this topic in a recent op-ed, The Day the ‘Enemies of the American People’ Helped Save America. The Philadelphia Daily News reporter wrote about those media who set aside their reporting to help rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey, while responding to repeated criticism of the press.

The fact is media are people, too. They have friends and families and experience life’s challenges just like everyone else.

No doubt the media landscape has changed dramatically. News outlets now cater to liked-minded audiences, fueling the country’s already tumultuous divide.

Be that as it may, media are essential part of documenting the pubic narrative. And yes, they don’t always get the story right. They’re human. They do, however, have editors and fact checkers to help ensure story accuracy. Let’s also not forget the journalist’s creed, a personal affirmation of ethical standards to “believe that the public journal is a public trust.”

While it’s easy to complain about the press, just think about what America would be without it.

Why Can’t We Stop Talking About Donald Trump?

No time in recent American history has one president been regularly talked about online, in the press or at the proverbial water cooler as much as Donald Trump.

One thing for certain is Donald Trump knows how to make news, which usually is done in 140 characters or less. Policies aside, many factors contribute to this phenomenon, such as Trump’s unorthodox style, recklessness or lack of a media filter.

President Donald Trump during a signing ceremony for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

But all publicity is not good publicity. A recent Harvard Study found that 60 percent of Trump’s media coverage during his first 100 days in office was 80 percent negative, at times hitting the 90 percent mark. Even GOP-friendly Fox News had him at 52 percent negative.

No doubt all this is taking a toll on Trump’s approval ratings. According to FiveThirtyEight, only 37 percent of Americans say President Trump is doing a good job, the lowest of any U.S. commander in chief since Harry S. Truman.

The Pew Research Center finds a majority (58 percent) of Americans do not like the way Trump conducts himself as president, and nearly half (45 percent) do not agree with him on any or almost any issue.

Trump’s conduct also is having a negative impact on his fellow Republications. Forty-six percent of GOPers expressed mixed feelings on Trump’s behavior, while 19 percent say they do not like his conduct.

As support dwindles among those that helped him get elected, President Trump is finding it harder to get key legislation passed even with a Republican-dominated Congress, as several attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fell flat.

Not so says Donald Trump. He boasts his administration has accomplished more than any other president except Franklin Delano Roosevelt, citing his own election as historic, stretching the truth and transparency.

Political pundits have called him a liar, many times. But it’s this behavior that lands Trump on the front pages. Forget about the old ad age of kids saying the darndest things, Donald Trump has made comments as president that go beyond any logical reasoning.

Whether it’s threatening nuclear war with North Korea or blaming Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad ratings on “Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump says and does things – good, bad or indifferent – that makes news and prompts reactions from people.

Unfortunately, that’s bad for Trump … and can be bad for America too.