Credo Action

Tell the media: Stop blaming "both sides" for Trump's government shutdown

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Tell the mainstream media:

"Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for the government shutdown. Stop falsely blaming 'both sides.'"

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    Tell the media: Stop blaming "both sides" for Trump's government shutdown

    It's not just Fox News anymore: Media outlets that many people trust are now unbelievably blaming both sides for Donald Trump's childish and dangerous behavior.

    Major news organizations, like the Associated Press, The New York Times and television news networks are creating a false narrative about Donald Trump's racist border wall, reporting – as news, not opinion – that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the government shutdown.

    The idea that both sides are to blame is absurd: Democrats in the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that the Senate passed unanimously a few weeks ago to reopen the government.

    The blame for this fabricated immigration and shutdown crisis falls squarely on Trump and Republicans, and the media must report on this situation accurately. We must speak out now to hold them accountable.

    Tell the media: Stop blaming "both sides" for Trump's government shutdown.

    Mainstream media played a massive role in catapulting Donald Trump's campaign to the White House.1 During the 2016 cycle, the media gave him more than $5 billion in free air time, marking the media's absolute complicity in his constant stream of racist, misogynistic and hateful attacks.2

    Now, some of these same media organizations are giving cover to Republicans to continue conflating the Trump-created border crisis and his unnecessary, wasteful, racist border wall with the government shutdown. The same shutdown in which more than 800,000 federal workers are held hostage without pay, shuttered government offices and services continue to negatively affect millions, and immigrants at the border seeking asylum continue to suffer.

    Here's just a sample of the "both sides" rhetoric:

    • After recent shutdown negotiations, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman accused Democrats and Republicans of "talking past each other, these two sides."3
    • The Associated Press issued a "fact check" blaming both sides, stating "Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another."4
    • TIME's Tessa Berenson wrote an article entitled "Both Sides Find Compromise Hard on the Government Shutdown" with a false rundown of a two-sides narrative.
    • CNN host Jim Sciutto implied that Democrats face "the risk of being portrayed as obstructionists," for not conceding any ground for Trump's absurd wall proposal.5

    Tell the media: Stop the "both sides" false narrative about Trump's racist border wall.

    Whether the media is motivated by ratings or the appearance of impartiality or it's just lazy reporting, the media's "both sides" portrayal is simply unacceptable. The news media play a critical role in our democracy by shining a light on the corruption, hate, unethical behavior and criminality pervading the Trump administration. The American public trust these sources exactly because they are supposed to report the news accurately, and we deserve better.

    Every reputable and ethical journalist and media organization has an obligation for accurate and fair reporting that is truthful and accountable and minimizes harm.6 We must ensure they live up to these important standards.

    Thanks for everything you do.

    References:

    1. David Sillito, "Donald Trump: How the media created the president," BBC, Nov. 14, 2016.
    2. Emily Stewart, "Donald Trump Rode $5 Billion in Free Media to the White House," The Street, Nov. 20, 2016.
    3. Media Matters, "After Trump speech, Maggie Haberman says both sides are to blame for "talking past each other,'" Jan. 8, 2019.
    4. Tweet by Associated Press Politics, Jan. 8, 2019.
    5. Tessa Berenson, "Both Sides Find Compromise Hard on the Government Shutdown," TIME, Jan. 2, 2019.
    6. Media Matters, "CNN host: Democrats risk 'being portrayed as obstructionists' over Trump's shutdown," Jan. 7, 2019.
    7. Society of Professional Journalists, "SPJ Code of Ethics," Sept. 24, 2014.