The press has power. Would-be dictators will curb that power any way they can get away with. Delicate egos distrust honesty.
I am sick of writing about Trump but he won't go away. The most amazing thing about Trump is his sensitivity to criticism or any diminishment. To many of us he is laughable, except he has power and vindictiveness. He also has a fan base that just loves his every move.
BUT the media is guilty of helping to get him elected. They broadcast his birther claims. Any reasonable intelligent person could see how ridiculous and unfair the claim was, but Donald well knew others were just looking for an excuse to diminish a black man who ruled over "real Americans" and the media gave him his platform.
Much of the media adopted a balanced approach which enabled them not to take sides. But all too often lies were made by one side--such as Obamacare was bad or that Climate Change has not really been proven that overshadowed the truth. Another problem was that the mainstream media has become very concentrated by owners with vested interests. Corporate ownership had been encouraged under Republicans, perhaps most noteworthy under Reagan. Ratings are now the key to profits and survival. News has become entertainment.
When Trump declared his candidacy, although almost all media felt he had no chance, they still gave Trump a huge platform. Bernie Sanders was drawing crowds, but not getting much publicity with almost no explanation while Donald was able to crowd out other candidates with very trivial presentations. Hillary was hit with a lot of disproved or trivial bad things. After awhile it was too late. The press kept alive ridiculous stories about Benghazi and email servers ignoring many serious misdeeds by Republicans. Important issues are ignored.
Now the Trump team has declared war on the media with Donald actually calling them the opposition. They have used strategies from Orwell's "1984" of distorting the truth, knowing full well that if repeated enough the lies will be accepted by enough.
What can be done? The media has to earn credibility. A key to that is the truth and prioritizing what is actually important. Voters have been misled and misdirected and many have no clue how they have been duped.
The economic platform of the Republicans is more corporate and 1% friendly so they have adopted the strategy of tying themselves to social issues. Emotional concerns can easily lead to one issue voters, but that is what leads to voting against your own best interest, even on the emotional concerns. A few examples.
Gay and Transgender rights. Sure they are different, but really how different? Does it affect their ability to do constructive things? Do they relate to others of different persuasions? We know they come with all political viewpoints, even where they are not welcome. Do you realize how much they have contributed to the well being of many others (including you)? Is love limited?
Guns are supposed to protect you, but they also are a threat to others (as well as yourself). Cars are supposed to help us get things done. A big difference is that we have more rules about who can drive a car and how as a way of protecting the rest of us. Do you feel you have to have access to military weapons in order to protect you from the government? Is it only the bad guys who get hurt?
Abortion is perhaps the king of one issue voters. Agreed it an undesirable solution to a perceived problem, but what is the best way to reduce it? Sex education and access to contraception actually work, but are opposed by many of the same one issue voters. To some of us that smacks of rigid anti-promiscuity. The one issue voters tend to accept all sorts of restrictions on helping the poor, which strikes many as hypocritical. Desperation comes to families of all persuasions and it is ironic that often abstinence only families have their share of unwanted pregnancies. Suffering comes from illegal abortions and there is a link between unwanted babies and more suffering. Hilary Clinton who has seen much suffering has been quoted as saying "Abortion should be safe, legal and rare." Should abortion be a one issue decision or should it be put into context with all life and death decisions?
Socialism is not really understood, but considered very un-American. I see it as co-operation over competition. Both have merit and diminishing either one has negative consequences. Neither should be authoritarian. The balance is tricky and one might hope that the fifth estate would see a duty to keep reminding us of the difficulties.
Media is financed in different ways, but most of us take it for granted that advertising revenues, a government grant or a sugar daddy will take care of it.