Journalists Are American Heroes; a Free, Independent and Tenacious Press is Vital to Maintain a Demo
It's impossible to maintain a viable democracy without a free press and around the world we have seen that the first target of tyrants is the media. America's founders knew that and that is why the First Amendment protects their freedom. Thomas Jefferson said it simply and eloquently:
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. [Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. James Currie,1786]
And, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black explained why we must all fight to preserve that freedom:
"Thus the press serves and was designed to serve as a powerful antidote to any abuses of power by governmental officials and as a constitutionally chosen means for keeping officials elected by the people responsible to all the people whom they were selected to serve." [Hugo L. Black, in Mills v. Alabama, 1966]
As the Mueller investigation closes in, our President is escalating his war on the press hoping that when the Special Counsel lays out his case in the coming months he can convince his base that what they are reading about him and his associates is untrue. In order for his strategy to work he has to convince them that the press cannot be trusted. In doing so, he is undermining one of America's most important institutions.
In Tampa on Tuesday, the President amplified his attack on journalists. His supporters at the rally responded in kind:
Quartz: In a video recorded in Tampa Tuesday, "a broad-shouldered man points out his “Fuck the media” shirt to the camera. A Santa Claus lookalike in a Hawaiian shirt and a red MAGA hat gives the camera the finger; a woman in a long pink-checked shirt does the same. A woman with expensive-looking blond highlights gives an elaborate “thumbs down” to the camera. And several wave “Q-Anon” signs, a nod to a far-right conspiracy theorist ring.
"During [Jim] Acosta’s live shot at the rally, the crowd behind him gleefully shouts “CNN sucks! CNN sucks!” and calls him a “traitor.”
Jim Acosta on Twitter: ..."I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy."
Last night, the President continued his now relentless attack on the media at a rally in Pennsylvania.
AP: "Thundering that the media is the “fake, fake disgusting news,” President Donald Trump unleashed a torrent of grievances Thursday at a Pennsylvania campaign rally in which he cast journalists as his true political opponent."
"The inflammatory performance came just hours after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to distance herself from Trump’s previous assertions that the media is the “enemy” of the American people. Pressed during a White House briefing on the issue, Sanders said Trump “has made his position known.”
It's time for every American, Republicans and Democrats alike, to say, "enough." Journalists are not the enemy of the people, they are our window into what our elected officials are doing in our name. Without them we are lost, our democracy is lost.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore