Did POTUS just say that?
Unlike any time in my lifetime, we now have a President that has “called out” the Main Stream Media, and even labeled them “the Enemy of the People”. This topic has really gotten the left-side of my brain uncomfortable.
What is Media, anyway?
First, I had to think about the word Media, and make sure that I truly understood the intended meaning of the word. Media means, in any standard dictionary, “the means of communication, such as radio, television, newspapers, and magazines, with wide reach and influence”. The first part of this definition seemed basic, but the back half, “with wide reach and influence”, really resonated with me in a different way than it had, prior to President Trump making the Media itself, the topic for discussion. The first thing that “struck” me was a snippet from the Bible verse, Luke 12:48, “to whom much is given, much is required”. So, with “wide reach and influence”, the media has been “given much”, and all forms of Media outlets, need to be very careful with both the “spoken and written word”, before it reaches the masses, and begins to influence public thought and opinion. The Bible further tells us in Proverbs 18:21, “the tongue has the power of life and death.” This holds true whether we’re speaking of spiritual, physical or emotional “life and death.” Wow! Together, all of these points really showed me what an awesome and powerful tool, Media, in any form, potentially can be. I don’t think many of us think of our words in these terms, and often take this awesome power and responsibility for granted.
So, do we really need the Media?
Now, I intuitively know that we have to have the Media; as for most of us, it is the primary source we rely on to inform, educate, and shape our thoughts and opinions; which is vital to our overall survival as human beings. However, the Media has got to have “checks and balances”, the same way our Government has “checks and balances”. I think this is where President Trump and “we the people” are upset with the Media. I think we have let the Media run unabated for too long. I mean, let’s be honest with one another. The Media loves to “throw out” controversial topics like homosexuality and abortion, knowing that there exists two potentially “polar opposite” views. This, in turn, absolutely drives tons of various responses and emotions, which always makes for a “ratings” winner! Media, is no different from any other business; simply put, “ratings = dollars”! While I am certainly not advocating Media outlets start running as Non-Profits, I think these outlets need to have a healthy balance between profit, and the potential costs to deliver this profit. For example, if our Media started a war of words with Russia, and it was very profitable to the network, but ended in World War III, was it worth it? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. Now, if the Media is only reporting the facts, letting the audience form their own opinions, and it still leads us into war, then I think we would have ended in war anyway. If this is the case, then Media outlets could go to bed at night, and not worry about having “blood-stained” hands.
Where does this leave us?
In closing, I think President Trump was just trying to wake up the Media, using some “shock and awe” tactics; calling the Media, “the Enemy of the People”. I also think he wanted to make them take a “reflective look” at themselves, and remember the importance and responsibility of their roles. I think it is vital to have Media outlets ensure all people that they are being responsible when bringing “we the people” the facts, and to make absolutely sure these facts are fair and accurate. Then I think they can let the resulting outcome of these facts land, wherever they may land, without any undue or unjust influence. So, is the Media the Enemy of the People, as President Trump stated? Probably not, but they certainly have the power to be, and this power should not be taken lightly; and if you doubt that, just look how Orson Welles 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” turned out!
Image Credit to http://www.the-enemy.co.uk