Good night, good luck

Matt Eidson, News Editor

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When you imagine a journalist, you might think of Edward R. Murrow. This name has become synonymous with journalism, and for good reason.

Murrow doesn’t represent your local “Drive at five,” or the BuzzFeed article on your Facebook newsfeed enticing you to click the link so you can find out which Harry Potter house you belong to. Murrow represents the true goal of journalism: accountability.

Murrow was nationally recognized for his highly publicized debates with former Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy is perhaps best known as the senator who targeted Americans with often unsubstantiated accusations of Communist Party sympathies. As McCarthy continued his tirade, Murrow stood in his way and held him accountable for his actions during his television program “See It Now.”

Largely because of Murrow’s reporting, the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution to censure (publically condemn) McCarthy, which officially passed in 1954.

If it weren’t for Murrow, McCarthy would have been left to continue with his political witch-hunt for “Communist sympathizers.” In this way, the journalist proved his purpose.

The tradition of journalism continues to this day. Though admittedly, you have to look a little harder to find it. Especially with biased “news” sources like Breitbart clogging up the information highway.

Regardless, political figures are held accountable for the words they say and the actions they take. If not for the tireless work of journalists, politicians would essentially be allowed to run amuck and do whatever they saw fit.

Because let’s be honest, how many of us are going to go to Washington D.C. to sit in on a Congressional meeting for the purpose of making sure those in attendance are “walking the line?”

If you were thinking, “I would absolutely do that,” I would encourage you to grab a notebook and a pen before you go so you can take some notes. Because that’s the kind of passion required to be a journalist, and America needs people like you.

Considering this information, it was truly amazing to witness the antics of the Trump Administration on Friday, Feb. 24. On this day, President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, denied The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico and CNN entry into a White House briefing.

This is a highly unusual turn of events, but not altogether surprising, unfortunately. Several of the aforementioned news sources have been referred to as “fake news” multiple times, via Mr. Trump’s twitter account.

Interestingly, Breitbart, a previously mentioned “news” sourced that is commonly labeled as “ultra right wing,” was allowed to attend the briefing. Though this shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially when you consider the fact current White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is the former executive chairman of the organization.

As an avid reader of The New York Times, as well as the Associated Press, I take my responsibility to remain informed very seriously. Mr. Trump’s continued verbal assault on the media, especially reputable news sources like The New York Times, angers me to my very core. Through his childish tweets, Mr. Trump continues to lash out at those who hold him accountable for his words and actions.

Witnessing his barrage of ignorance via social media truly astounds me. I find it difficult to understand how a 70-year-old man could resort to such immature antics. Mr. Trump’s behavior on social media reminds me of a heartbroken teenager haphazardly tweeting his frustration to the world.

In times like this, I often wonder who the Edward R. Murrow of our generation will be. Who will be the one to stand up to Mr. Trump and call him out on his inconsistencies and, often, flat-out lies?

I don’t have an answer to this question. I hope The New York Times continues to spearhead the responsibility of holding Mr. Trump accountable. Now more than ever, it is vital that the journalist maintains his or her passion for the truth. 

Journalists are the voice of the people, and as such, it is their job to ensure that voice is heard. They question authority, remain skeptical and throw stones at giants. The journalist is a person who considers it their personal duty to relay accurate and unbiased information to the masses.

I look forward to witnessing the media continue to hold Mr. Trump accountable for his words and actions. To end this commentary, I will leave you with the wise words Edward R. Murrow: “good night, and good luck.”

Matt Eidson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]

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