Several weeks ago on this page, we encouraged Americans to settle down and give new President Donald Trump an opportunity to lead the country. While many in this country didn’t want to see him elected, the torch has now been passed and for the good of our country we must do as those who didn’t like Barak Obama had to do — accept defeat and give the new leadership a chance.
After all, when we wish for our political opponents to fail once they are in office, we are, in truth, wishing for our country to be less than it can be, and that is wrong.
But, this isn’t a one-way street. While Americans need to start acting like, well, Americans, we would say much the same about our president — he needs to settle down and lead, acting presidential and giving up his penchant for sophomoric attacks on the media and anyone else who dares to differ with his opinion.
And he needs to get the facts before he speaks, deviating from presenting what has become known as alternative facts that far too many in our country are taking as the gospel without any care to check them out.
By virtue of those actions, President Trump is behaving no differently than many of those he provides a tongue-lashing too.
It makes us scratch our head and wonder: is this really happening? Is this what we can expect from our leaders and our citizens going forward? We certainly hope not.
This week, alone, Trump has belittled a conservative Seattle judge appointed by President George W. Bush after he blocked Trump’s executive order on immigration. In the president’s words he called 30-year veteran Judge James L. Robart a “so-called judge” and his ruling “ridiculous.”
He told a room full of the country’s sheriffs that the nation’s murder rate was at an all-time high when, in fact, the FBI’s latest statistics show the murder rate to be on the decline, and he accused the the media of deliberately minimizing coverage of the threat posed by the Islamic State group, saying news outlets “have their reasons” for not reporting what he described as a “genocide” underway at the hands of the group.
And at every turn, Trump refers to news reporters from some of the world’s most prestigious news agencies “the very, very dishonest press.”
Whether you were a Trump supporter or not, be honest for one second: Do those sound like the words of a president? Can you recall any American leader, Republican or Democrat, who has so easily bullied, thumped and spewed unchecked facts without blinking an eye?
While the public has often had a love-hate relationship with the media, and while the national media has often been its own worst enemy, the press has its place in a free society, and citizens should depend upon it to provide them with information they need.
Whether locally, like us at The Sampson Independent, or on a far larger scale like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC or CBS, the media makes its share of mistakes. We certainly do, and we hate them.
But just as importantly we, like they, take our jobs seriously and believe we serve you, the reading and viewing public. Our aim is not to spew lies but to report facts.
We tell you when government leaders want to raise your taxes; we alert you to industries that have a desire to locate near your home; we inform you of crimes occurring in your neighborhoods and we tell the wonderful stories of your children, friends, neighbors and schools on a daily basis.
We are not, as the president would have you believe, the enemy. We love our country, want it to succeed and fight for it every day, just as we fight for its citizens.
The press is so important that our forefathers ensured its protection under the First Amendment to the constitution, their way of preventing government from interfering with the distribution of information and opinions.
The president needs to understand that, and while he should call out the media when members have done wrong, he should not lump the press into one bag and label it dishonest, hoping to sway the citizenry away from believing true facts as opposed to ones often manufactured by those who want the world to see only the things they’d dearly like you to believe.