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Politics and The News: A lesson in manipulation

Editorial Opinion

Manipulating the news enhances President Trump’s claims of and taking credit for low unemployment, a high stock market, and income increases in his first six months in office.  Depending on which news outlet is reporting it is either pro-Trump, anti-Trump or looks to more neutral fact-based sources.  Either way President Trump, like seasoned career politicians, is taking credit where credit is questionable.  The real issue is how the news is manipulated to meet an agenda, and how some news outlets will report based on political leaning.  This type of manipulation skews the truth, feeds the agenda of the hard-leaning ideologist, and can confuse the general public.

Depending on which way a person “leans”, liberal or conservative, to some degree determines which news sources they will believe and to the same extent criticize.  President Trump has done this himself, referring to some news outlets as reporting fake news, especially when the news is not favorable to the president.  On the other hand, President Trump is quick to jump on news that is favorable to his agenda, regardless of the source or quality.

Manipulation of the news to support an agenda is not new to politics.  In the case of the recent claims by President Trump, it is necessary to look at the history of the economic data and the relationship to the president’s time in office.  Economic analytics stretch backwards to show progress, and some of the economic improvements are still rooted in the previous presidential administration.  This is not to say that the election of Donald Trump did not have an effect on certain aspects of the economy, it did.  Taking the same historical approach, President Trump’s time in office has not been long enough, and therefore the same is true for any economic policy the president has put forth.  This is not to criticize the president, but more to show there has not been enough time for the president’s economic policies to navigate the legislative process and have a noticeable effect on the economy as a whole, to date.

The bigger picture is how, in this case, the economic news is used to cast a favorable light on the president, especially during a tumultuous first six months in office.  Therefore, the claims made by the president act more as a counterbalance to the instability currently seen coming from the White House.  The result can be a double-edged sword.  Yes, the president’s claims do cast a favorable shadow over the White House and only a shadow because the claims are not necessarily linked to President Trump’s presidency and could have an unfavorable backlash.  This is the risk most politicians are willing to take in order to change public perception, even if only for a moment.

It is this back and forth manipulation of the news that taint our perspective of government, political parties, and fuels liberal and conservative points of view.  This can limit our perspective and muddle the truth, which benefits the political agenda.  It is important to maintain objectivity when processing the news, objectivity provides clarity and clarity helps to keep us better informed.