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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Harry StineDecember 5, 2023

Trump interview raises concern for free press

Trump interview raises concern for free press

The New York Times has released a transcript of a conversation that occurred last Thursday between President Trump and A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times. The discussion centers on the role of the free press and how Trump’s language about the media has impacted journalism worldwide.

In it, Sulzberger highlights the wide-reaching impacts of the Trump administration’s adversarial relationship with the press, claiming that it has resulted in a documented increase in violence and persecution toward journalists worldwide. Trump has been criticized for encouraging violence against reporters in the United States during his campaign, and more recently when he praised the physical assault of a reporter in Montana.

Sulzberger claimed that Trump’s rhetoric against the press has recently been used by other governments to suppress journalism in favor of their own sanctioned narratives, saying, “dictators and tyrants are able to employ your words in suppressing a free press.”

When Sulzberger appealed to Trump by pointing out that the United States prides itself on promoting a free press and spreading that ideal worldwide, Trump responded that he believes he is in fact a defender of the free press, but that many news organizations treat him unfairly. He said, “I do believe I’m a victim of that.”

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Trump has continually denigrated the press for this alleged victimization, with comments such as his tweet last July, saying, “I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry.” The idea that this rhetoric may threaten the free press worldwide should not only be troubling to the publisher of the New York Times, but to us as
consumers of information. It should be concerning to us when persons in power call into question the legitimacy of the free press, especially if they are doing so simply to replace negative coverage with more friendly narratives. The press must continue to function so that journalists can work to ensure that the population has access to relevant information.

Trump did not seem concerned with the wide-reaching impact of his words, but he did acknowledge that he could attribute the term “fake news” to himself, as he has popularized its use to call into question stories when they cover his administration’s actions negatively. Repeatedly throughout his campaign and time in office, concerns have been raised over this President’s relationship with factual information. However, when asked what he thought the function of the free press ought to be, Trump replied, “It describes and should describe accurately what’s going on in anywhere it’s covering whether it’s a nation or a state or a game or whatever. And if it describes it accurately and fairly it’s a very, very important and beautiful thing.”

This seems to directly contradict his attitude toward specific news organizations, however. He commented that “Fox treats me very well,” but that “NBC’s terrible.”

These notoriously partisan organizations can both be blamed for contributing to the creation of information bubbles which continually validate their viewers’ political stances. Yet, Trump’s complaint was that NBC treats him poorly while Fox treats him well. Rather than addressing the issue of inaccuracy, which would have required him to call out his best supporter in the media for just the sort of inaccuracy he says harms the American people, he simply condemns his negative coverage. This reveals that his criticism of media organizations is not rooted in concern for factual reporting, but for his own representation.

He claimed repeatedly during the interview that he ought to get a great story in the press for the things he has done which he feels are exceptional and deserving of recognition. “I just sort of think I’m entitled to a great story from The New York Times,” he said after reminiscing about his victory in the 2016 election. “I mean I’ve done something that nobody has ever done, they’ve never done it.”

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