By Naomi Butler, Staff Writer, 1L
The current consensus among many fellow students seems to be that the future is unclear for the judicial system. A common conversation, however, is how lawyers are needed now more than ever. Trump’s administration has become known for its use of alternate/alternative facts, outright lies, and a building distrust of those that would speak the truth at the hands of those that would say anything to change what the truth actually is. The truth is slowly being hidden behind a façade – a curtain, and the lesson is to not look behind it and see the real OZ.
The problem with this is that the judicial system represents finding the truth and administering justice. This makes the judicial system “public enemy number one” to those that would prefer to see the truth hidden in the shadows. Aside from the blatant attack on members of the media who conduct investigative reporting an attack on those that oppose the man behind the curtain (so to speak) seems to be erupting.
Trump started this attack on truth with the silencing of the Twitter accounts of government agencies where the response was to go rogue and continue to give important facts, truths, and information to the public. Steve Gorman (2017). It did not end there, however. In fact, this was just the beginning. His next stage of business was to declare war on the media by coining the phrase “fake news” and making sure that he was the one deciding which news outlets were “fake” and which were “real.” The reason this is disconcerting is that “[t]he President will simply make his own assertions about events, whether true or not, in order to undercut what reporters are saying. If the media zeroes in on a problem that he is facing, he will try to spin the story his own way.” Julian Zelizer (2017).
In fact, this is the case with Trump’s most recent claim of former President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower before the election. He asserted this claim without any evidence or proof (as he does with many of his claims) to backup or support his statements. To make matters worse, Kellyanne Conaway, counselor to Trump, claimed that cameras could easily be placed in microwaves to watch people and that Trump could have been referring to that. Because of the outrageousness of many of Trump’s claims people are uncertain of what the future may hold and what it means for the actual truth instead of the perceived truth. For many years the media has been known to report things in a certain light to make people see something in a specific way (because certain headlines sell papers more than others), so the tactics of Trump and his team are nothing new to society. The new issue, however, is the position of the person making the claims.
In the past, presidents have lied and misstated the truth. For instance, Lyndon Johnson hid from reporters his plan to escalate the war in Vietnam when he was questioned about the future of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia during the 1964 election. President Nixon secretly bombed Cambodia. President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council conducted an elaborate operation of selling weapons to Iran and used the proceeds to fund the Nicaraguan Contras that they continually denied to reporters. At a much smaller scale, President Bill Clinton did the same. ”I did not have sexual relations with that woman,“ Clinton said of Monica Lewinsky, even though he did. President George W. Bush said there was solid evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There were not any weapons. The current assault against the media seems qualitatively different. This administration, armed with a new way to communicate directly to the public through social media, has started to conduct a multi-front war to systematically undermine the ability of the press to fulfill its responsibilities as a watchdog on government and as the main source of information for political news. Julian Zelizer, (2017).
The president’s current mistruths have never been seen, which causes fear and alarm among people.. As students and other members of society continue to get the “Alerts” on their phones showing what is happening in the media, many are left thinking, “What did Trump do now?” This is more disconcerting now than any previous president before. For now, all one can do is wait, watch, and feel uncertain as to what may happen next.
Gorman, Steve. “Defying Trump, Twitter Feeds for U.S. Government Scientists Go Rogue.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 26 Jan. 2017. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
Zelizer, Julian. “President Trump’s Dangerous War on the Media.” CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.