Fake News is a very real concern that has been hijacked by the political industry to serve their interests. Most notably used by President Donald Trump to disarm and deflect criticism away from himself, Fake News has been dramatized to the point that the issue has been thoroughly trivialized, thereby minimizing the chances that any meaningful action will be taken to address Fake News. The Fake News issue arose, because professional news outlets were picking up fabricated news reports then sharing and propagating them across the entire news industry, which falsely validated the content as fact. In a literal sense, Fake News is only untrue news, but it has come to encompass much more.
Actual Fake News undermines the credibility of new outlets and misinforms the public. More importantly, it allows those who inject fake news into the news cycle to further their financial and political interests through propaganda and the general manipulation of public perception. Beyond Fake News, there is also over- publicized news and news that is largely irrelevant to the target audiences: news that is not newsworthy. When something happens or the potential for something happening is great enough to discuss, it is news. What news is covered by news outlets depends greatly on what journalists, editors, and managers decide is newsworthy. Thanks to internet search engines, the public has greater influence over what news receives global attention, but traditional news providers still impact what news is investigated and presented as news.
Donald Trump and the professional news industry share a dysfunctional, and often abusive, relationship that is escalating a long brewing global Information War. Where professional news outlets feed off the cheap, easy, and profitable controversies Trump continually supplies, the President capitalizes off the reach of the Media to broaden his audience while utilizing an intensifying distrust of these elitist institutions to gain influence over them and deflect criticism away from himself by undercutting their increasingly fragile credibility. The Trump Administration’s efforts to selectively exclude news outlets from so-called “press gaggles” and asking questions during press briefings is just a recent example of the war between Donald Trump, who views the professional news industry as an enemy of all Americans, and the Media.
On the one hand, the Press offers the American People their only window into the Oval Office, thereby providing some of the much needed scrutiny that keeps public officials like the President from engaging in corruption and public policies that run counter to the interests of the American People. By selecting media outlets that favor the President, thereby effectively punishing those who criticize him, the Trump Administration is dismantling oversight of the Executive Branch in violation of the First Amendment. On the other hand, the professional news industry is itself very much an exclusive club, which hires and enriches people based on their connections, elitist status, and the compatibility of their views. Although the Trump Administration would be better served by including, so-called “alternative news” providers, instead of excluding traditional ones, the professional news industry needs to address its flaws as well.
Seven planets of similar size and composition as the Earth have been discovered the relatively small distance of 40 Light Years away orbiting a “cold” red dwarf star called Trappist-1. Although the slow speed of conventional propulsion systems and relativistic effects, which slow the passage of time as one’s speed increases, place these exoplanets millions of years away from our reach, this discovery kindles mankind’s fascination with alien worlds and the fantasy science of space travel that we hope might help us travel beyond Earth. In this era of ever intensifying geopolitical and economic uncertainty, the fact that people are still interested and able to explore so far beyond our own world is almost surreal.
During the Cold War, space exploration for the sake of science and human curiosity helped transform the potential for war into a competition to push beyond the limits of human potential. Unfortunately, the global culture of today is vastly different from what it was during the Cold War. Our egocentric, shorted-sighted, competition-obsessed culture and inability to see beyond the cost-benefit analysis of every situation have suppressed the motivating power of imagination and the human yearning for exploration. Where the discover of alien words, and the coverage of these discoveries, still sparks widespread curiously, the burning drive to reach beyond our own world is growing cold. We are so consumed by the pettiness of political gossip and power struggles that we ignore the possibilities.
The President of the United States requires an tremendous amount of endurance. Being President requires an astounding about of commitment, discipline, and willpower to endure the never-ending stress of the position and the scrutiny of a population quick to criticize and slow to show appreciation. POTUS is not just a job. It is a lifestyle of leadership and selfless public servitude. Those Presidents, who find themselves incompatible with this lifestyle choice, have been consumed by the job; whereas, the greatest of Presidents have seized the opportunities offered to them by the Presidency and have been transformed by the power and responsibility of the Office into the greatest of leaders.
President’s Day was crafted from the birthdays of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln to honer those who have taken on the responsibility of the Executive Branch. It is, however, great Presidents like Washington and Lincoln who are remembered on Persistent Day. George Washington faced the herculean task of of building a government, a new form of government, in a post-war nation of former colonies reluctant to cooperate and even more reluctant to empower a centralized government. Abraham Lincoln presided over a civil war and a massive cultural revolution that ended with the demise of slavery. Today, the US faces an ideological political civil war that requires the same level of leadership potential.
The Trump Administration may be steeped in controversial due to the provocative nature of Donald Trump, stiff resistance to an emerging public policy agenda, and staffing choices, but the President still has a job to do. Where the President’s domestic policy will be shaped by the President, his staff, the reaction of Congress, and public sentiment, he will enjoy a larger degree of independence when it comes to setting foreign policy. Committing to the abandonment of free trade agreements and demanding US allies take a more equitable stake in their partnership with the US, Mr. Trump has already opened the floodgates to change and an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda. Like his predecessors, he will, of course, have to deal with the issues that he has inherited. In terms of foreign policy and national security, frozen US-Russian relations tops the list of priorities.
When it comes to US-Russian relations, Mr. Trump hopes to hit the reset button. In fact, Trump’s failure to outright condemn the Russian seizure of Crimea, which started the Ukraine Crisis, and willingness to repeatedly praise Russian President Vladimir Putin for his strong leadership qualities has earned him considerable criticism. The handling and firing of his National Security Adviser Micheal Flynn over his secretive and inappropriate contacts with Russian officials has only provoked further scrutiny of Trump and his team. Where Trump faces intense pressure to condemn the Putin government from within the US and America’s NATO allies, Mr. Putin appears to want Mr. Trump’s support for Russia. Putin is apparently willing to “reward” the US for cooperation on the Syrian Civil War and the Islamic State under Trump, yet it also appears the Putin government intents to "punish" the Trump Administration for dissent as it did the Obama Administration.
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