Alternative facts only widen national divides

Sam Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer

Recently inaugurated President Donald Trump has made a habit of antagonizing the media since the start of his campaign in June 2015. His attacks on the media were occasionally justified; for instance, most national media sources gave Trump little to no chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in the general election. They were wrong, to their widespread chagrin, and Trump went after them for it.

Trump’s dissatisfaction with the media has since continued into his ascension into presidency. Just before assuming office, he called CNN “fake news” after the organization reported on an intelligence briefing Trump received that featured unverified allegations about his ties to Russia.

Then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that Trump’s inauguration drew the largest audience in history. When photographs and other empirical data from the inauguration seemed to indicate otherwise, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said Spicer and the administration were supplying “alternative facts” to those presented by the media.

Now, Trump is falsely claiming that his nearly 2.9 million vote loss in the popular vote is the result of millions of people voting illegally. He is also calling two of the nation’s most reputable news sources, The New York Times and Washington Post, “fake news,” “dishonest,” and “failing.”

There are many conclusions one can draw from these incidents, but the most glaring is that Trump is hurting, not helping, the country by attacking facts and the news organizations that report them. Some news organizations may lean to the left of center, but Trump should not be attacking them for doing their job with integrity. Support him or not, it’s undeniable that Trump is a highly controversial figure, and is treated as such by news media.

Moreover, Trump has no authority to question the legitimacy of his loss in the popular vote. If anything, the United States has been making it harder, not easier, to vote in recent years as many states have passed strict voter ID laws despite little evidence of voter fraud. This false accusation only highlights America’s failure to increase turnout in elections, rather than proving that voter fraud is a problem.

If Trump truly desires to succeed as president and satisfy his ever-apparent ego, he should drop his war on news. His presidency is as controversial as seems humanly possible right now, so fueling the fire is the least productive thing he can do for our country.

Trump must serve not only his voters, but liberals, conservatives, and moderates alike. If he desires favorable news coverage and public opinion, he must implement policy that improves our all of our lives. That is the only way the coverage will change. That’s a fact, no alternatives.

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