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No more ‘fake news’!

No more ‘fake news’!

No more ‘fake news’!
August 16
17:26 2018

Eva Reinoso Tejada

The newspaper Boston Globe launched an initiative urging more than 100 newspapers to stand up to the president and his constant attacks to the press in our country. The Globe issued a “call to action” that was distributed to the media urging every newspaper to express their discontent with the disrespect the president shows to the press, and for that matter, to pretty much everyone around him. Says the Globe “The slander of ‘fake news’ has become Donald Trump’s most potent tool of abuse and incitement against the First Amendment, labeling journalists the ‘enemy of the American people’ and ‘dangerous and sick’.” “This dirty war on the free press must end,” concluded the Globe, and I couldn’t agree more.

I am from Venezuela, a country with no freedom of press whatsoever. A country where every media outlet was expropriated, bought out, closed, or squeezed out by the government. I, and all Venezuelans, more than anyone else, understand what it is not to have freedom of speech. Nevertheless, I have been personally attacked here in America for “exposing my left-wing ideology and reducing me to little more than a flame-throwing ultra-liberal spewing propaganda to sell my publication”. When I was publicly attacked on social media by a Trump supporter, it was clear and obvious the damage the president had done to this man’s brain with his “fake news” tirade. This person [the attacker] urged his followers to “send me a message that my Venezuelan yellow journalist style is not welcome in the United States.”

Needless to clarify is the fact that my ‘yellow journalist style’ comment coincides with the times that we have had to publish unfortunate news about the president. If we say there are children being separated from their parents on the border, then we are being ‘yellow’. If we say that Trump insulted someone on Twitter, we are being ‘yellow’ too. If we say that Trump is disrespectful of women, we are ‘yellow’. If we report on the president’s inauguration crowd, then we are biased. If we highlight his weakness before Russia’s president, disregarding the work of America’s intelligence services on the election meddling, then we are unfair.

If we even mention that a few people of his inner-circle are facing serious criminal charges, then it is a witch hunt. See what’s going on here? Are those fake news? Is all of that not happening? Or are those just unpleasant truths to the ears of the president and his cult-like followers? And that is just the news. Imagine the times when I have published editorials [opinion, hello] criticizing the president or his administration. That is plain old heresy! In the end, our real job doesn’t boil down to publishing positive or negative stories about the president. Our jobs are to write about what is happening every day in this country, period.

It would be fair, and if not encouraging, that people who voted for Trump, or those flatterers who close their eyes to the reality of his mistakes, to step up to him and defend the media for doing our jobs. It doesn’t help that us, the media, complaint that we are being trampled by the insult of “fake news”. We need people on his side to step up and publicly recognize that attacking the media is just wrong. Do we want to end up like Venezuela? Definitely not. Let’s remember who are the governments that attack or suppress the free press: Russia, China, Hitler’s Germany, Venezuela, Cuba, Rafael Correa’s Ecuador, Ortega’s Nicaragua, Kirchner’s Argentina, and every single country that is or has been ruled by an authoritarian leader. If the president’s wishes were to come true, there would be laws to gag the media from criticizing him, just like all those countries do or have done in the past. That is not who we are. That is not America… or could it be?

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Edición Virtual | #340 | 6 de junio 2019

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