Stop reporting the tweets, and start reporting the facts

By: Tiffany Ditto | @TiffanyDitto

If you have been watching the news, or just existing in the United States, then you know that social media is proving to be instrumental in President Donald Trump’s dissemination of information. However, media need to question the importance they place on Trump’s infamous tweets, and how exactly these tweets should be covered.

There are over 324,000,000 people in the United States of America, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Twitter has around 317,000,000 active users worldwide, according to Statista, and online statistics database. Out of all of those users, currently, a mere 22.3 million people follow Trump’s personal twitter account, and only 14.3 million people follow Trump’s official presidential account.

The media’s continued coverage of Trump’s tweets have expanded his reach from around 22 million, to hundreds of millions of Americans. The news media provide a platform for Trump to disseminate his message, without having to answer any real questions by solely reporting on the tweets.

Tweet sent out by Donald Trump. Courtesy: Twitter

The old way of journalism where journalists attended press conferences, and were able to ask questions, seems like a thing of the past.

Journalists have long been entrusted by the constitution to be watchdogs of the government, but laziness on the part of journalists has created a society where it is okay to report on what is easily seen by many. However, journalists should be reporting on what isn’t easy to see, and requires investigation.

Journalists need to stop placing so much importance on the social media activity of the president and start holding him accountable by questioning the things he says and does. Journalists need to do their part in standing up for the voiceless, and holding the administration accountable.

But it won’t be easy.

Trump on numerous occasions said that the news media are “liars,” and “terrible people.” He rolled out a media blackout for the Environmental Protection Agency during his first week in office. During this time his media team also coined the term “alternative facts,” after blatantly lying to the press.

It’s time for journalists to band together and start asking the hard questions that may worry the administration, but empower the people.

Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press. 

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism