Donald Trump calls the free press “the enemy of the people.” Of course, he is wrong. Still, he eggs on people at his rallies to berate the journalists who came to cover him — to the point that some have needed secret service protections. Now, journalism has begun fighting back.
Trump told an audience of military veterans:
‘Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.’
Trump’s disturbing continual lying makes the free press even more important. He made 4,229 false or misleading claims in just the first 558 days in office, according to The Boston Globe. As the Counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway said, these are “alternative facts.”
One of our nation’s founding father, John Adams, knew the importance of journalism. He said:
‘The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom.’
They thought freedom of the press was so important, they put it in the First Amendment. Thomas Jefferson said:
‘Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.’
Trump’s actions were dangerous, not only physically but to America as we know it. As a result, The Boston Globe decided to ask 100 both liberal and conservative news outlets to write an editorial specific to their readers
Dictators from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, whom Trump admires, crushed their free press. POTUS saw no problem with Putin killing journalists.
In December 2015, MSNBC host of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, reminded the president-to-be:
‘(Putin) kills journalists that don’t agree with him.’
Then the Donald responded:
‘Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.’
Editorial departments across the country joined in the effort to fight back against the president, according to the AP. The Des Moines Register (Iowa) wrote:
‘The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger.’
North Carolina’s The Fayetteville Observer said:
‘We’re not holding our breath (that Trump would stop). Rather, we hope all the president’s supporters will recognize what he’s doing — manipulating reality to get what he wants.’
Savannah Georgia’s The Morning News wrote:
‘Like any true friend, we don’t always tell you want you want to hear. Our news team presents the happenings and issues in this community through the lens of objectivity. And like any true friend, we refuse to mislead you. Our reporters and editors strive for fairness.’
The New York Times opined:
‘If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.’
CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted that Putin jailed his critics, according to The Boston Globe:
‘On the eve of a summit with Putin, critics of whom in the journalistic community often end up jailed or murdered, President Trump calls journalists the enemy of the people.’
MSNBC and NBC’s Meet The Press host, Chuck Todd commented:
‘An attack on the free press while overseas, just hours before meeting with one of the most brutal journalist-killing authoritarians in the world.’
The reason a free press is important is to protect citizens from their leaders. Journalists have risked their lives in wars abroad and investigating corruption in the U.S.
Recently, 48 percent of Republicans agreed with Trump that “The news media is the enemy of the American people,” according to a new Ipsos poll. That percentage edged up to 51 percent in the next poll.
Over 25 percent of Americans, including 43 percent of Republicans, believed:
‘The president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.’
More frightening, 13 percent of those people agreed with this statement:
‘President Trump should close down mainstream news outlets, like CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.