Why Do People Trust A Man Who Jokes About Assaulting Journalists Over Actual Journalists?

Donald Trump and a MAGA rally
Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore

Think about how safe you would feel if the overwhelming majority of your neighbors supported a man who would be willing to assault you.

That may explain why the first thing I did after reading that nearly two-thirds of citizens believe that mainstream media reports “a lot of fake news” was purchase a newspaper that I get for free.

Why even try?

Why get a heat stroke, as EMTs told me? Why spend three to seven hours every week working for free? Why spend another three to eight writing for no pay? Why work 36 of 45 consecutive hours?

(That’s just recently – that all happened within five weeks, as recently as three weeks ago.)

It’s safe to say that just about all these antagonistic persons respect the Founders, if not revere them and even consider them as inspired. (The share among Republicans was four-fifths.) Do they not consider the Founders’ belief in the press to the extent that those Framers expressed it as constitutional law?

The very term of “fake news” was in the Harvard-Harris poll. Do folks not consider that the very term was used by a man who did so when he wanted a job that has the press swarming him daily, as is their responsibility? And that he uses the term only when being asked about information in stories that do not put him in a good light and other clever reasons?

(Consider also that his claim to coin “fake news”… is fake news. And that the evil dictatorship he is being investigated for colluding with themselves did “fake news.”)

Even though he’s also provoked another evil dictator possessing nuclear weapons, Donald Trump has made me afraid as much as at any point when he has been a candidate or occupied the White House when he tweeted a video of him attacking a person with a CNN logo superimposed over the individual’s head – and that it was his most re-tweeted tweet at least at the time. (It may not be a surprise that CNN has rather intently reported on him, including when it did a story of him asking feds to deny evidence of collusion with Russia.)

As a government and politics journalist, needless to say, this was unsettling.

“He’s going to get a reporter killed,” I said out loud, considering what the promotion of violence could incite. (I said that when it’s not unreasonable for the press to get the respect of police and firefighters. We’re all looking out for the public.)

I live in a Wyoming county where 71 percent voted for a man whose bragging about sexual assault and being investigated for that collusion – and his personnel are being found out – are only two things that have sandwiched his advocacy for violence against folks committed to finding the truth and holding accountable those who have the power to abuse.

Then, Sunday, I read that 65 percent don’t even trust folks like me.

(Also, in an alternative reality where those in the profession above any other to report the truth aren’t, how can one blame the press for “fake news” when Trump’s statements and/or actions are recorded?)

I’m not going anywhere, neither in profession nor craft. But tell me why it’s worth it to average below-minimum wage pay my entire life for journalism if I’m not so confident that I’m being honest with the public and that I don’t have that knowledge and assurance no matter how much the hostility builds.

I expect that I’d have the same opinion even if the people of America followed Trump’s lead and I was assaulted tomorrow. TC mark

Rhett Wilkinson

Writer, bold, creative, storyteller, thinker, expressive, political.

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