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22nd November 2016

A post-Trump journalistic meltdown

Being a good journalist is a difficult task in light of recent events, and it can sometimes be easier to stay angry than to express it with words

A well behaved journalist would remain calm in the event of the extraordinary, domestic or indeed, international. Recognising the need for circulation of honest information in a healthy, functioning democracy, they write with their minds — not their hormones. They have a duty to produce rational, well-written arguments, perhaps even entirely neutral, in order to deliver information to the masses. After stating a claim, they would back it up with reliable, tangible evidence. If journalism had a superhero (barring, of course, Clark Kent), they would be merely known as ‘Reliably Impartial’!

Yet, each time I attempt to write an article on ‘Let’s Show Those Silly Liberals Whose Boss: Episode II’, I find that I cannot rationally express my views on the matter into words. Even now I cannot not simply call it ‘The 2016 US Presidential Election’. As much as I want to, my fingers will not let me describe what happened on Wednesday morning with anything but utter disdain and bitterness. Although there is highly questionable post-Trump material being produced by the media, I often come across beautifully written articles that wonderfully articulate various views on Trump, Clinton, America and the World. Some articles explain why it happened, some explain what will come of it — all incredibly rational and convincing.

And I wish to produce such an article. What a difference I would be making to my minuscule, yet loyal, band of readers by constructing a hard-hitting, truthful piece of journalism, jam-packed with reliable statistics, impressive political jargon and a killer title that could trump the President-elect himself.

Alas, I have finally come to the sad realisation that it, on this occasion, was not meant to be. However, while the Rules of Journalism and I redefine our tempestuous relationship, I shall write about, and attempt to make excuses for, my lack of ability to write. As a pro-choice feminist with an immigrant for a partner, as well as a strong interest in 20th century history, I cannot remain calm when discussing the election of Donald Trump.

The venom Mr Trump has spewed over the course of his campaign makes me angry, offended, and upset. It would be deceitful to publish what would be a keyboard rage dressed up as an informative, logical piece of writing. It would be hypocritical to hide beneath the blanket of journalism, disguising the frustration and fury lying beneath.

When in a situation where I have to talk about the elections, I cannot utter more than expressions of my anger, disappointment and despair. At this moment, I cannot see a silver lining, only an apocalypse. The rational side of my brain assures me that it is not as bad as it seems, but in the paranoid, emotional side everything seems to suggest the opposite.

On the 24th of June I suffered a similar ‘journalistic meltdown’ following the outcome of the EU Referendum, otherwise known as ‘Let’s Show Those Silly Liberals Whose Boss: Pilot’. I then, shamefully, spent nights drinking copious amounts of red wine and crying into my pillow, with no wise words or valid statements to offer anyone other than variations of “humanity sucks and politics is stupid,” with some added curse words.

Perhaps this indicates narrow-mindedness, bad journalism, and an inability to set aside my own experiences and feelings in order to have a balanced discussion. I chide myself with the reminder that there are many with much more at stake as a result of the election than I, and that they are able to sensibly discuss the issue. Unfortunately for me, I can only admire them with the acknowledgement that I am a lesser being.

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