American journalist Bret Stephens recently revealed that only 17% of young people aged 18-24 read a newspaper daily. Stephen’s article, ‘Don’t Dismiss President Trump’s Attacks on the Media as Mere Stupidity’ was written for Time Magazine. The statistic highlighted that the consistency of reliable sources went into sharp decline when quick media and online news outlets became mainstreamed. The internet and social media are among the most relied upon sources for current affairs and news – the meme is the new political cartoon – but lacks much substance and are frequently absence to corroborating source material
Political memes can be funny, however they also contain a dangerous consequence. Young people are too inclined to become complaisant allowing their attention to slip on the broader issues. With the current situation of Trump’s presidency, there are many who find him laughable. There are many who have gathered to protest and resist his policies. Others have taken to social media to express their outrage at President Trump’s approach since taking office in January. Trump has gained notoriety since the launch of his campaign in June 2015 for his constant use of Twitter to scold his opponents, announce significant political briefings and to comment on current affairs issues, both foreign and domestic.
President Donald Trump describes anything the media releases that he may not like as ‘fake news’. Essentially feeding a narrative of US politics where it is becoming government versus the media. If the government can control what is released, this means big trouble for our generation. Trump does not simply detest certain news outlets because of which direction they politically lean towards. In Tom Batchelor’s Independent Article, ‘Donald Trump says all negative polls about him are fake news’ a CNN poll is discussed in relation to Trump’s rating in the polls, and his refusal to acknowledge that these polls are evidence of immense dislike towards Trump.
‘The Donald’ is evidence of how it has become commonplace for people to be impressionable and vulnerable in terms of news consumption. Quick news sources which spew non reliable information are impactful because there are people who readily absorb the things they read or hear, they do not put more contemplation into it because they do not have to. They rely on easy sources, and as a result grow misconceptions on the facts. Stephens states, ‘dis-intermediating technologies such as twitter, which have cut out the media as the middleman between politicians and the public’, Stephens notes how it is interesting that Trump can get away with this, since it is entertaining and can perhaps be rationalized by a select few.
While scrolling through our newsfeeds we will regularly see stories from a variety of news sites that highlight the outrage or interest stirred in whatever Trump’s vital tweet of the day is. The lead photo accompanying the story will be a screenshot of the tweet, but the stories that you don’t see a lot of are much more sinister. Trump’s plan seems to be to dominant the media circus with brass and brash tweets, while quietly attempting to slip through his contentious policies, including bills that cut government funding for Arts and Humanities education, defund Planned Parenthood, and increase military funding, all as under the radar as possible. But Trump and the wider GOP administration’s behaviour cannot be dismissed with funny memes, and dissatisfied US citizens it seems will have to logout of social media and take to the streets to effectively challenge the new Republican ascendancy.
Alyssa Rogers Politics Writer