At a time when we need an accurate press more than ever, the kind of carelessness that I have been seeing lately has me concerned.
Just in the last week or so, I saw a story about how President Trump was putting a gag order on EPA employees and that news spread like wildfire, only for longtime agency officials to debunk it and say what was being done more or less constituted standard procedure. There was the story about the entire State Department resigning in anger about Trump taking over, but it turned out to be only four people and they had not quit, they were fired.
I could go on and on. Literally. There are so many examples of this in the past few weeks, that I could fill a full length book. I voted for and support President Trump, but that does not mean I do not want the media to report mistruths or negative actions he takes when those things occur. Unfortunately, though, it is hard to trust anything being reported when this keeps happening.
I realize this is the age of social media and that creates extra demand for immediacy, but the media has to start doing a more careful and thorough job of investigating these stories before prematurely reporting them and getting things wrong.
Otherwise, much like the boy who cried wolf, people will start to tune them out on stories that are serious and do demand attention. Stories like the Travel Executive Order issued Friday. Let me first say this: As an immigrant from a Middle Eastern country, I am very troubled by some parts of the Executive Order. Green Card holders - who have already been vetted extensively - are permanent residents and the fact that they were ever included in this is ridiculous.
Furthermore, any other kind of Visa that was already issued - including student Visas - already went through the process and should not be retroactively affected in any way.
That said, while I believe the President acted hastily in some ways, not enough reporting has been done on the fact that he did not pick those seven countries out of thin air; they were chosen previously under an existing law enacted by President Obama. And none of this is to say that there aren't major improvements needed in our process or that there aren't very real concerns here.
Hillary Clinton herself admitted that it is basically impossible to properly vet Syrian refugees. And we have seen with our own eyes what some of them have done in Europe. These people are in a terrible situation and I want to help as much as we can, but our safety MUST come first. There is no easy answer here, but stricter methods should be used and we cannot pretend there aren't some very legitimate risks involved.
But I have seen those worries largely belittled or ignored by the press. I know there is an impulse to treat everything the President says or does with hostility because of how openly antagonistic he has been to the media, but it is important for a complete and truthful picture to be presented to the American people at all times.
The New York Times' Ross Douthat and Current Affairs' Nathan J. Robinson recently wrote excellent, well-reasoned, columns on the danger the fourth estate faces in covering the President.
If the media allow their disdain for the President to cause inaccurate reporting, they will become the very thing they accuse him of being.
For the sake of our nation, I hope they are better than that.