ECU professor encourages media consumers to take charge, question President Trump and media sources

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — In a news conference Thursday, President Donald Trump took what he calls “the truth” to the American people. During the presser, Trump accused the media of withholding information.

“Many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people in our country with the respect they deserve,” says President Trump. “And going forward I hope we can be a little different and maybe get along a little bit better if that’s possible, maybe it’s not and that’s OK too. Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, DC, along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting from the obviously very, very broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we are not talking about it, we are doing tremendous disservice to the American people, tremendous disservice. We have to talk about that to find out what’s going on.”

This discussion, one a local scholar says is necessary in order to get everyone back on the same page. Dr. Brian Massey says the narrative of “fake news” in our country is destructive and the American people need to figure out who they can trust. Massey says Trump is on the defensive and is working to redirect attention.

“To deflect attention away from that uncomfortable truth and make the messenger of the truth the issue,” says Massey.

Massey says this approach threatens the principle our nation was founded on.

“Part of what happens when the politicians try to delegitimize the news media for doing their job, we’re talking professional and ethical journalists, is they end up putting democracy at risk,” says Massey. “Everybody brings their own alternative reality to the picture and we cannot have a discussion. If we cannot have a discussion, we cannot reach a compromise. If we cannot reach a compromise, we no longer have a democracy.”

So, if you can’t trust the media and you can’t trust the president, who can you trust? Knowledge is power. Massey suggests digging deeper into news coverage, both local and national stories, and take charge of your own persuasion.

“Know it for what it is,” says Massey. “Arm yourself with information and the critical thinking skills that we all should exercise and we all have and realize that if you’re trying to make me not see something, then maybe I should look at that something.”

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