Facts should not be partisan issue

Recent news has been dizzying with politics and an administration unlike any other in American history. You would think that the exhausting coverage of Trump’s White House would be on foreign policy or tax codes or American jobs (many of the things he based his campaign on), but much of the recent news has been dominated by Trump and his war with the press.

Many have heard the term “alternative facts” fly around the media quite frequently over the past few weeks. The term was coined by senior Trump adviser and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, woman infamous for dodging interview questions and pivoting, during an interview with CNN’s Chuck Todd after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that Donald Trump’s inauguration touted the largest inauguration crowd in history: a claim that does not follow the rules of a fact since it is simply false. Other false claims by members of Trump’s administration and Trump himself include the claim that the murder rate “is the highest it’s been in 47 years” and that Trump had “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan,” which are both utterly false.

Through the media battles, facts have become an issue of partisanship. Agreeing with or accepting many of the false claims has become required to align yourself with the White House. If one said they believed that Trump or Spicer or Conway’s statements were false, it is automatically assumed that they politically oppose the policies and ideologies of the administration.

However, facts should be a tool used to form opinions, and opinions and falsehoods should not take the place of facts. The disintegration of the value of truth in a statement is unambiguously frightening and leading the country into a long and downhill path of reporting on things that should not have to be reported on.

While the media should be reporting on the true policies and events of the White House, I find that this intention is very hard to accomplish when you first have to verify and even correct what the president says during his press conferences (if it even relates to the topic of the conference in the first place).

Stating facts and checking said facts are not political issues. It should not be a political issue. It should be a universal rule of thumb followed by not only the president, but the press as well. The job of the press is to inform the public of the truth of what is happening, and that includes correcting things that are said by the president that are simply not true.

“We want our president to tell the truth,” said CNN host and professional Trump fact-checker Jake Tapper. Americans need to be reassured that they are safe, their kids are going to be well educated and that the man running their country is watching out for them, and they should not have to pick and prod through tangents of crowd size and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings to find things that actually matter to their lives.

Alternative facts are not a thing. There is the truth, and then there are things that are not the truth. Facts do not stop at party lines or only apply to one end of the political spectrum. There is no grey area or rubber mallet that allows you to bend and morph facts to create a marketable or false facade, and despite what the current administration thinks, when the people who are expected to tell the truth don’t, there will be backlash and corrections from the media because one purpose of the media is to keep the public informed with the truth.

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