Sometimes I forget that I used to study journalism for a year before I settled on my Occupational Therapy degree. I love writing and even though in the end I did not see myself as a journalist, it is still fun to sometimes have opportunities to use some of my skills obtained in that first year of studies. My little writer club's assignment for the month was writing a newspaper article, so I decided to write about Meryl Streep's powerful speech at the Golden Globes as well as the fact that social media and the internet makes it easier to find and share information, but so much more difficult to find the truth.
Meryl Streep Trumps with Golden Globe speech
This year’s 74th Golden Globe Awards Ceremony had many memorable moments from the Hollywood stars but included an underlying tension about the future, in particular with the upcoming inauguration of the controversial president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump.
Although there were a few jokes about Trump during the ceremony, it was Meryl Streep who took the opportunity on stage to voice her disappointment in the people’s choice during November elections. Streep who received a lifetime achievement award and is called the greatest actress of her generation, used the podium to address what she calls “poor performance” by the man who is about to fill the country’s most powerful seat this Friday, 20 January 2017. She specifically referred to an incident where Trump allegedly mocked a news reporter with a disability. Streep continued with a powerful statement saying: “This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
Trump had a quick response on Twitter saying that he was not surprised by Streep’s remarks, calling her a “Hillary-lover” and denying that he mocked the reporter, Serge F Kovaleski. Kovaleski, a South-African born reporter writing for the New York Times, suffers from a chronic condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the functioning of his joints. Trump has continually claimed that he has never met Kovaleski and therefore could not have mocked his disability and stated he was rather referring to what a “flustered reporter” would look like. According to Kavoleski, he and Trump not only met on a regular basis for interviews and articles, but were on first-name basis for years.
Trump continued on Twitter, calling Meryl Streep one of Hollywood’s most over-rated actresses. This is just one of many occasions where Trump has made use of social media to respond to claims about his integrity, or to share his unconventional views on sensitive topics. It is clear that social media played a major role in this presidential election and that Trump’s showmanship and raw unfiltered use of it, sparked interest in many voters and the 19.3 million followers he has on Twitter. This, together with a general drop in trust of mass media, could have played a role in his surprising victory on 9 November 2016. According to social media experts, less than one in three Americans still have confidence in the media to “report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” Among Republicans especially, trust of media is lower than the norm.
Streep who has been nominated for 19 Academy Awards and 30 Golden Globes, holds the record for the most nominated actor of all time. In total she has received 157 different awards internationally, 3 of them Academy Awards. In her lifetime achievement speech she focused on the importance of diversity and empathy towards human beings. She also asked the public to support the committees protecting journalists and the press who we need to “safeguard the truth”.
The question remains what the future will hold for a world seemingly ruled by social media and unsupported tweets and feeds. Where values are easily forgotten through internet shaming or trying to get more likes and shares and where people seem to lose the ability to find the truth amongst the noise of loud voices. We can only hope the truth will continue to set free, open eyes and break down any walls being put up.