OPINION: “Alternative Facts” are part of Trump’s war against the press


Photo by White House photographer, via Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Smith, Opinion Editor

I have to say I’m impressed with our new president. It takes courage to speak in front of the largest inaugural crowd our nation has ever seen. It takes even more courage to have your press secretary blatantly lie about having the biggest inaugural crowd our nation has ever seen.

On his first full day on the job, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that Trump had “the largest crowd to witness an inauguration, period.”

Trump’s inauguration crowd was far less “yuge” than his administration claims, however. According to Politifact, most of the claims Spicer made about the size of the inauguration were false or, according to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, they were merely “alternative facts.”

Of course Trump was going to defend the size of his inauguration crowd; after all, he has already told us that nothing about him is small.

However, there is a much bigger issue at hand than crowd size, and that is the Trump administration’s treatment of the press.

Trump had been antagonistic toward media outlets throughout his campaign, but now he wants to start a war.

“I have a running war with the media,” Trump said during a visit to the CIA last week. “They are some of the most dishonest human beings on earth.”

Trump is going to war with an important facet of democracy. The press is necessary to let the citizens know what government officials are doing. The press acts as a fourth estate in this way, checking the power of the other three branches of government.

Other members of Trump’s staff have also joined in the president’s war against the media.

White House strategist Stephen Bannon said that the media was an “opposition party” in an interview with The New York Times.

Bannon also referred to himself as “Darth Vader.”

Trump is at war with the press, and his apprentice just dubbed himself Darth Vader. Trump only needs to fix in three more spaces on his tyranny bingo card to declare himself emperor.

Trump’s war is not only against corporate media organizations, but also against the flow of information to the public.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration placed a media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency, preventing the organization and its employees from sharing facts with journalists and the public.

This blackout, which ignores the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, allows the president and his administration to restrict the public from information that they are legally allowed to have.

Spicer’s “alternative facts” are one of Trump’s weapons to use in his war with the press and the media. By giving out fake facts, the administration is making us decide what is true and what is alternatively true. Until the administration starts telling the truth, the only people that are going to get hurt are us.

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