I normally refrain from engaging in political discussions, particularly in public forums and on social media, but I cannot remain silent any longer. This is not a matter of being conservative or liberal; it is a matter of basic reasoning and logic. And yes, there is commentary, and the post is heavily opinionated. However, it is rooted in facts and numbers. And when you do the math, what Trump says compared with what he does just does not add up.
Let’s look at an example, shall we?
Since creating his Twitter account in March 2009, Donald J. Trump has tweeted 34,300 times. There are 2,872 days between March 1, 2009 and today. That means that Trump has tweeted an average of 12.3 times per day every day for 8 years. Social media is my job, and not even I come close to that number.
There is a reason that companies, politicians, and celebrities all pay people like me a lot of money to manage their social media presence for them: They have more important things to do. Like, oh, I don’t know… running a country, perhaps?
Then there is the security issue. You know what’s easier to hack than a private email server? A Twitter account. Trump’s Twitter account was hacked, in fact, by a teenager back in February 2013. Imagine the implications if an unauthorized person got access to his account now as President-Elect, or ten days from now after he is officially sworn in as President of the United States. We’ve already seen the influence his tweets have on the stock market.
If you think it can’t happen, you are, quite frankly, deluding yourself. Look at the numerous high profile figures whose Twitter accounts were hacked in 2016 alone.
How do his supporters not find this problematic? Maybe it’s because of all of the jobs he has created…
If we take Trump’s numbers at face value, then he has created a total of 1,100 jobs since being elected. Those jobs are the result of the highly publicized Carrier deal Trump made in the fall. As of December 2016, there were 7.5 million people in the U.S. who were unemployed or roughly 4.7 percent of the population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means Trump reduced unemployment by roughly 0.015%. He’s got a long way to go.
Furthermore, it has been well documented that of those 1,100 jobs at Carrier, 300 were white collar jobs that were never at risk for relocation to begin with. Then there is the $7 million in incentives Carrier received from the state of Indiana, which will come not from Trump’s own pockets, but from taxpayers.
As for Ford and Fiat Chrysler, well… Trump’s recent tweets commending both automakers for the decision to invest in jobs in the U.S. rather than overseas could easily be misconstrued. However, both companies have gone on the record that they made the decision for business reasons unrelated to pressure from President-Elect Trump.
Even if he was behind creating those jobs, though, you would still only be looking at a 0.05% reduction in the unemployment rate.
Finally, there is Trump’s flagrant disrespect of the institution of journalism, the sole existence of which is founded on keeping the powers that be—people like himself and branches of the government—in check. Trump repeatedly calls the media dishonest, fake… yet he excludes Fox News from that category, saying “Fox News totally gets it.” I guess it’s only biased coverage if you don’t agree with what’s being reported, or if the news doesn’t show you in a favorable light.
The fact is, yes, there are biased news sources out there. Historically, CNN and NBC are liberal, while Fox is conservative. Bias is a fact of human nature. But we as journalists are taught to recognize our biases, analyze them, and prevent them from entering the stories we report. We live by the principles of truth and accuracy in reporting. I don’t know a single journalist out there who doesn’t uphold those values daily.
Many, many journalists (celebrities, and others) have spoken out on this topic. I will leave it at this though: Most concerning is the fact that Trump encourages people to turn against the news at a time when holding people in positions of power, people like himself, accountable is so important.
I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind with this post. Half of you who read this will have your preexisting beliefs confirmed, while the other half will likely write me off as a “Hillary flunky” liberal. It’s why I refrain from engaging most people in political discussions in the first place. My hope, though, is that at least one person will learn something new from what I wrote.
Ultimately, this is indicative of a larger problem in our society, and that is confirmation bias. People do not care about understanding other viewpoints. People do not care about the facts. They seek out only that information which confirms what they already believe to be true. This problem of confirmation bias is exacerbated by social media, fake news, and sponsored content that is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate from real, honest reporting. More on that in a later post.
For now, as Edward R. Murrow would say, good night and good luck.