President Trump has tweeted an announcement for “THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR” will arrive soon. Earlier this year we had the “Fake News Trophy” meme, adding humor and drawing attention to this serious matter. The ratings for many of the subjects in the spotlight of the awards are confirmation that conservative news sites are gaining credibility, while outlets such as CNN are dropping in viewership. These “awards” could mean even more bad news for the mainstream media outlets.
I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
USA Today criticizes the move as “subjective” stating, “He often attacks well-sourced stories containing potentially embarrassing details about his administration, particularly with regard to the Russia investigations.” But fails to mention when these stores actually contain anonymous sources or no third-party verifiable facts, careful to qualify its statement with “potentially.” The Trump administration is still awaiting proof of any Russian involvement that constitutes a legal infraction.
I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair “press,” now often referred to as Fake News Media. Phony and non-existent “sources” are being used more often than ever. Many stories & reports a pure fiction!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
The President has been clear that he is using social media as an effective tool to deliver messages directly to the people. This way he informs the public on the truth about his tax plan, his current policy initiatives, and to directly call out misinformation in real time.
The Fake News refuses to talk about how Big and how Strong our BASE is. They show Fake Polls just like they report Fake News. Despite only negative reporting, we are doing well – nobody is going to beat us. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2017
President Trump recently used Twitter to address the leader of North Korea, and his statements about having constant access to a nuclear arsenal. The tweet mocked the leader and sparked debate over the platform’s rules and a possible suspension or banning of the president’s account.
Twitter’s general guidelines and policies state, “Please note that wishing or hoping that someone experiences serious physical harm, making vague threats, or threatening less serious forms of physical harm would not fall under this specific policy. Instead, we may review and take action against that content under our abusive behavior and hateful conduct policies.” But the social media giant has been criticized for not enforcing the rules universally or consistently.
The New York Times has remarked about the lack of a cohesive plan of action and suggests that banning the president without a clear set of universal rules might to be the best idea. Manjoo of The Times states, “Until it creates a better anti-trolling regime, suspending the president-elect’s account for the sort of messages he has posted so far would look unfairly partisan, and could well raise more trouble for Twitter, and the world than it solves.”
The article suggests that Twitter has a right to suspend the account and that is not for this article to decide. But, the proposed ‘anti-trolling regime’ is a strange term for usage in a free speech and content creation debate. Is he suggesting a top-down governing authoritarian force to subjectively decide the content and its intentions? Twitter is a public forum that owes its success to its creators, both good and bad. Let the public decide. Perhaps limiting posts with age restrictions are the most important tool Twitter has to avoid policing public speech.
Twitter has been criticized for its algorithms that suppress conservative trending tweets and hashtags, including anti-Hillary tweets during the election campaign.
In an article in The New Yorker, Steve Coll finds that the wider journalistic and reporting landscape that is found online creates communities of readers that are often bound by a similar ideology. He states, “A more openly factional, political journalism need not portend the death of fact-driven, truth-seeking, fair-minded reporting. Yet excellent journalism typically follows a form of the scientific method, prioritizing evidence, transparency, and the replicability of findings; journalism grounded in an ideology can be discredited by the practitioner’s preëmptive assumptions.”
This is very true, and while all reporting should be fact-based and verifiable, it is intellectually dishonest to expect it to be free from bias entirely.
Reporting is political, human and subject to interpretation; so is a scientific inquiry to a great extent. Like Nagel tells us, no one knows what it is actually like to be a bat. Prioritizing evidence, for instance, is going to require some amount of subjectivity.
There is a difference between interpreting data, which can be scientifically finite, and relating it in a personal way to some other event or evidence. This is why Political Science is generally taught in the Arts and Humanities Colleges. As a social science, we rely on the professional honesty and fair reporting.