President Barack Obama spent his speech at a journalism awards ceremony Monday night condemning the media and implying their failures are responsible for Donald Trump’s success in the presidential race.
“A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone. It is to probe and to question, and to dig deeper, and to demand more. The electorate would be better served if that happened, ” Obama said at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony held by Syracuse University.
The president added, “it would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can’t keep.”
Obama is alluding to the massive amounts of earned media Trump’s campaign has earned compared to other candidates. According to The New York Times, Trump has received $2 billion worth of free media thru March 15. In the same time Hillary Clinton had $746 million worth of earned media.
During his speech the president worried that the chase for profits cheapens journalism. “Part of the independence of the Fourth Estate is that it is not government-controlled, and media companies thereby have an obligation to pursue profits on behalf of their shareholders, ” Obama said.
He then added the media, “also has an obligation to invest a good chunk of that profit back into news and back into public affairs.”
Obama in his speech said a job not well done by the press causes politician’s promises to go undone. “Without a press that asks tough questions, voters take them at their word. When people put their faith in someone who can’t possibly deliver on his or her promises, that only breeds more cynicism, ” the president said in his remarks. (RELATED: President Obama DELETED His Website Telling American People They Could Keep Their Plans)
President Obama spoke in the speech about how politics has always been “tough” in the U.S. The president, though, went on to say that the current political climate, “does corrode our democracy and our society.”
“So it’s worth asking ourselves what each of us — as politicians or journalists, but most of all, as citizens — may have done to contribute to this atmosphere in our politics,” Obama said.
Two weeks ago, the president said he “certainly [has] not contributed” to the tone of politics.