Barely a month into his duties as President of the United States, Donald Trump has declared war on the media accusing them of being liars and enemies of the American people.
In recent years the media have been the target of various leaders, not only of authoritarian regimes but also of countries with deep foundations of democratic institutions and a free press.
This targeting or attack against the media, is not a coincidence. Conflicts and disputes need two parties to be created and the media, which until recently was untouched and a fair ally of every public figure, politician or not, are finding themselves apologising for the way they write.
The media, in the past few years, have lost the role for which they were created, to inform, criticise and control power. They act in the interests of their owners or their sponsors, without shame and social responsibility. In front of profit and power, the press has deserted the contact he has with the reader, viewer or listener.
Nowadays with the power of technology and the speed that news is shared, the role of the media has entered unchartered territory, something which is quite evident in the way it reacts, thus losing one of its basic principles, objectivity.
The traditional publisher-journalist, gave his position to the businessman whose sole purpose is profit. The increasing job insecurity makes both professional journalists more vulnerable, more prone to being manipulated by their media bosses, as well as the “secret’ sponsors, who are willing to pay well to push their positions.
But technology has defeated the media in the public’s mind. Fake news is revealed in a very short time and the reason why the story was fabricated also becomes known. The fact that every citizen is also a potential journalist has helped the cause.
Traditional research journalism has become a journalism which is solely concentrated on the press releases the journalist receives in their inbox. Small changes are made to the text and the “article” is ready. Cutting costs in the media, has also reduced journalist missions, who now just copy news from News Agencies. This leads to the fact that journalists lose touch with reality so there is no record of what surrounds the news item, no record of actual events so the journalist writing the story is essentially writing a fictitious reality, in effect another fake news story.
Leaders have understood now that media intervention in society is not what it was in the past and have timidly began a confrontation with the media to gain an audience, the audience which no longer follows the media. Social Media has now taken over the role traditionally held by the media and that’s where politicians are focusing their energy. Furthermore the cost is much less than those in traditional media.
The dismantling of traditional instruments has begun. Leaders are helping in this process, which is in their favour, in their own way. Time is not on the Media’s side, they have to act quickly to adapt to the new environment. It’s certain that in the near future more attacks will take place against the media. The only way for them to return to their original role is to gain their lost credibility and objectively inform the public, something which is necessary for society and democracy./IBNA