Fake news swayed the 2016 election


Ethan Bahar

A quick skim of my previous pieces will show that I fully opposed Donald Trump’s election.

I think he is an unpredictable narcissist with ideas that could endanger the livelihoods of millions of Americans.

Having said this, I, as well as all other Americans, have an obligation to root for the success of this man, who will be inaugurated as our president tomorrow.

Not only must we root for Trump’s success, but we must also praise him when his policies yield favorable results. While fair praise is important for any president, it is especially pertinent for Trump.

This is because his behavior suggests that he feeds off of positive reinforcement. Stroking his ego, whenever possible, is the most surefire way to coax him towards less aggressive, more reasonable policy decisions.

This is not to say that the media, and the American people in general, can relent on scrutinizing every single decision made by the president. As the leader of the free world, it is extremely important that he make each and every decision under the watchful eye of millions. When a policy fails, or even if a stupid remark is made, the president deserves appropriate criticism.

What we must strive for is a proper balance between positive reinforcement and necessary criticism. This balance, to an extent, once existed in the American media landscape.

However, in recent years, outlets like Fox News and MSNBC have strayed from their days of reporting unbiased news. Instead they have become echo chambers, spewing opinions blatantly held by one end of the political spectrum or the other.

These news organizations feast on the viewership and readership of folks who hold a specific set of opinions. Thus, the information that they now present has become more extreme in an attempt to spike interest in a niche viewer.

The consequence for this irresponsible attempt at increased viewership is a deepening of the polarization in American politics. Signs point to Trump’s election being a symptom of this widening gulf between the left and the right. If news had been reported without a skew from the time that the primaries began, it could be argued that Trump’s victory would have been far less achievable.

To shrink the partisan gap, and to coax an unhinged president into making reasonable decisions, major news outlets owe the American people a return to unbiased, responsible reporting. Such a return could very much be what this country needs to restore our fleeting democracy.