Whether you live in the United States or not, you may have heard that this past Thursday Mr. Donald J. Trump gave what he called a “news conference.” It actually was a rather scary and demented 75 minute long performance in which he bragged about winning the election…AGAIN… and boasted how his administration is running like a “finely-tuned machine.” He then berated a reporter for a small Jewish magazine who had the nerve to respectfully ask him if there were any plans by his administration to help quell the rise of anti-semitism in the country, and then suggested that April Ryan, a long-time White House press reporter, set up a meeting between him and the Congressional Black Caucus, presumably because she’s African American. But he saved most of his vitriol for the press and their “fake news”, even at one point admitting that while it’s true there are leaks flooding out of the White House concerning his and his administration’s cozy relationship with Russia, the news covering these leaks is fake. Just try to wrap your brain around that one! And if that isn’t enough, Friday Mr. Trump tweeted that the media is “the enemy of the American People”. As soon as I read it chills went down my spine. This is straight out of the “Dictators For Dummies” handbook! I have to admit that sometimes the press does drive me crazy. For instance, I partially blame them and their non-stop media coverage, for Mr. Trump becoming president. But honestly? Where would we be without a free press? Well, Senator John McCain, a conservative from Mr. Trump’s own Republican Party sums it up very well in his interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press which will air tomorrow morning. “I hate the press,” McCain sarcastically tells Todd. “I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital. If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.” So yes, the press can be aggravating at times, but they do far more good than they’re given credit for. Whether it’s the Boston Globe who exposed the Catholic Church’s enabling and covering up for pedophile priests, or the Associated Press investigation, that over the course of 18 months, located men held in cages and tracked ships and trucks, all to expose the slavery practices in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry, or the many journalists who put their lives in danger covering hot spots all over the world. I was shocked to learn that there’s a memorial at Washington’s Newseum, upon which there are 2,291 names of journalists from around the world who have lost their lives while doing their job. And every year, more names are added. So no, Mr. Trump. The press is NOT the enemy of the American people. To illustrate how important it is that we have a free press, JK Rowing tweeted this quote from President Theodore Roosevelt’s Sedition, A Free Press, and Personal Rule (1918):
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
These are indeed wise words that should never be forgotten.
Oh! And here’s three examples of true fake news:
Kellyanne Conway’s repeated claims there was a massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Sean Spicer’s repeated claims of a terror attack in Atlanta, perpetrated by someone overseas.
And just a few hours ago at his Florida rally, Mr. Trump referred to a nonexistent attack in Sweden last night to justify his ban on Muslims.