By NAOMI FEINSTEIN
President Trump delivered his second State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress Tuesday night. In his speech, Trump made calls for unity and bipartisanship. However, along with many of his hopes for the future of the country, he discussed and reflected on matters pertaining to immigration, the economy, and foreign policy among others.
Throughout his speech, Trump made a number of claims that I, myself, wanted to make sure were correct. Therefore, when I went to read different news outlets reactions to the speech, I found some interesting pieces about examining the accuracy of Trump’s claims. It is quite unnerving that different news media outlets have to “fact-check” our president, someone who we trust to tell us the truth.
I applaud these different news media organizations to go through the president’s speech and check for falsities. We live in a country where we are bombarded with falsehoods and so-called fake news. However, we rely on these presidential addresses to hear about the state of our current affairs. But, now we are left thinking, what are we supposed to believe?
I particularly enjoyed The New York Times piece titled, “State of the Union Fact Check: What Trump got Right and Wrong.” Today, our news media landscape has become very partisan, making unsubstantiated claims about our government. However, in this piece, a number of reporters came together to detect falsehoods and exaggerations in the president’s speech by presenting data and information that disproves what he said.
When Trump spoke about immigration, he said, “The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now immediately upon its building with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is on the safest cities in our country.”
However, New York Times reporters prove that this statement is false by showing that El Paso has never been one of the most dangerous cities in the United States and prior to the building of the border fencing in 2008, the city’s crime rate had already been decreasing.
If the story had failed to provide the evidence for which Trump’s claim was false, I would be less likely to believe it. As we know many say Trump has lied previously; however, many of those claims have lacked support. These reporters tracked the accuracy of these claims through extensive research and that is what you call good journalism.
It is through strong reporting like this that a democracy flourishes. The press or the Fourth Estate helps U.S. citizens stay well informed and holds officials accountable. The advent of the free press was grounded in the idea that it serves as watchdog of government and this piece serves as a tool for citizens to track the progress of our country under President Trump for the last two years.