I watched the 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump in person. I was there. I saw it.
I was interviewed by my local news station afterward–which was strange as a journalist–to be on the other end of the interview. They asked me how it felt to be at the inauguration. Regardless of anyone on the trip’s personal political affiliations, we were there to witness history. This election and inauguration were like nothing our country has ever been witness to.
As a journalist, I often think of the saying about news being a first draft of history. That thought was especially prominent during the inauguration.
President Donald Trump has made clear his opinions of media organizations and has said he will not hesitate to make things more difficult for journalists. As I sat in the crowd amid avid Trump supporters booing CNN I realized that his supporters agree with his opinion of journalism. When he swore to uphold our constitution, I swore that I would be one of the people to hold our leader accountable.
Opinions of specific journalists and news organizations may not be high, but one can’t dispute the function of truth in a democracy. An informed populace is necessary for democracy to function properly. If people do not know what is going on in the country, how can they make responsible voting decisions that align with their beliefs and are supported by evidence.
Now that Sean Spicer, White House press secretary has decided that the president’s word is law regardless of truth or moral standards, it is more important than ever for journalists to seek the truth and report it. To tell an “alternative fact” (lie) about something as inconsequential as inauguration attendance numbers is frustrating to those who value truth and honesty.
To be honest, I hope that Donald Trump will “make America great again” for all people and be the best president we have ever had. I do not wish mistakes upon him. I am not rooting for him to fail. I want our country to live up to its greatness. But as a journalist, trained to see beyond the fronts and walls people put up, I worry. I worry while hoping that I’m worrying for nothing.