The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was first for a reason. It incorporates some of the most cherished and essential principles to maintaining America’s experiment in democracy. Among them is the explicit protection of freedom of the press. The Constitution doesn’t say anything about liking it or approving of its contents. But the unfettered freedom to investigate and report the news is sacrosanct.
That’s why Donald Trump’s repeated assaults on this freedom are so appalling. He’s spent much of the past two years maligning the very notion of a free press. He calls anything that isn’t sufficiently adoring “fake news,” and personally insults honest journalists. His hostile rhetoric has even led to physical attacks and death threats to reporters who are just doing their jobs.
At a press avail Wednesday morning Trump lashed out again. This time he took aim directly at the First Amendment’s freedom of the press (video below). The attack came during a state visit by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Reporters asked Trump about recent reports that he had inquired about increasing the American nuclear arsenal. Trump denied that he ever discussed the matter and called the reports “fake news” by NBC. And then he added this:
It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it. […] And then they have their sources that don’t exist. In my opinion they don’t exist. They make up the sources. There are no sources.
Oh yeah. It’s so disgusting that the press gets to write whatever they want. Who’s responsible for that? Somebody has to do something about it. Before you know it they will expect to get away with criticizing the President and not land in jail. Trump must wonder how Vladimir Putin manages to lock up – or kill – critical journalists without any opposition to speak of.
Clearly that’s a goal for this president. He has taken this same position before. Last year he unleashed a particularly abhorrent rant wherein he called the press “the enemy of the American people.” And he fretted over the fact that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.”
When someone articulates such a plainly authoritarian stance once, it might be considered a gaffe. When it’s repeated multiple times, it’s a mission. Donald Trump has no understanding of, or respect for, the Constitution. And he will abuse it at will if given the opportunity. That opportunity must be withheld from him at all costs. And if his handlers or the Congress won’t do it, than it’s up to the American people. RESIST! IMPEACH!
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.