Trump Suffers Brutal Senate Rebuke for Attacking the Free Press as ‘the Enemy of the People’

On Thursday there was a coordinated effort on the part of more than 350 independent newspapers to strike back at Donald Trump’s relentless and dangerous assault on the media. And it’s about time. As noted by one of the organizers, the Boston Globe, “This whole project is not anti-Trump. It’s really pro-press.”

Donald Trump

Naturally, Trump took time from his golf game to post tweets (three actually) criticising this overdue measure of self-defense and support for the First Amendment. Once again he demeaned the press by calling them the “opposition party.” Actually, that’s true. They are opposed to much of what Trump stands for: lying, corruption, racism, misogyny, and treason. And Trump’s GOP is defending all of those traits in this perverted White House.

Also on Thursday, the Senate passed by unanimous voice vote a resolution offered by Sens. Brian Schatz and Chuck Schumer. The resolution is focused directly at “affirming Congress’ support of the First Amendment and condemning attacks on the free press, which undermine the credibility of journalists and the press as a national institution.” What follows are some of the more pertinent passages from the text of the resolution:

Whereas the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the press from government control and suppression;

Whereas the freedom of the press—

  1. has been recognized as integral to the democratic foundations of the United States since the beginning of the United States; and< /li>
  2. has endured and been reaffirmed repeatedly throughout the history of the United States;


Whereas tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions; and

Whereas the United States, including its long-held commitment to and constitutional protection of the free press, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that:

The Senate –

  • affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people;
  • reaffirms the vital and indispensable role the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance our most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms; and
  • condemns attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as a whole as an attack on our democratic institutions.

It is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.

The fact that a resolution like this even needs to be brought up is a sad statement on the status of the United States government, and particularly the White House under Donald Trump. And its language is unambiguously aimed at Trump himself with the inclusion of the affirmation that “the press is not the enemy of the people.” Moreover, having been passed without any objections in a body controlled by Republicans is an indication that the GOP may finally be sick and tired of some of Trump’s overtly un-American tendencies.

Now if only they would see fit to challenge the President on matters like his punitive and intimidating revocation of security clearances for former intelligence officials; his assaults on the Justice Department and those conducting investigations on him; his reliance on Fox News instead of experienced national security professionals; and his predilection for lying and resorting to infantile name-calling.

And maybe, just maybe, the Congress might hold actual hearings to get to the bottom of his conspiracies with Russia and obstruction of justice. It’s their sworn duty to act as a check and balance, to hold the President accountable for misdeeds, and to offer solutions that will prevent similar problems in the future with rogue leaders and foreign attacks on America’s democracy. Is that asking too much?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Some Are More Equal Than Others

This site’s mission has always been to focus on the media and its impact on society and culture. But this morning I was just thinking about how dysfunctional some of our political institutions are, and I thought I’d wander off the reservation for a while.

Friday President Obama had to make recess appointments for 15 nominees to federal posts because Senate Republicans refuse to permit a vote on them. And there are still dozens more in the same state of partisan limbo. In addition to that, Republicans have conducted a record breaking number of filibusters in their attempt to supersede the will of the Senate and the voters.

All of this leads me to question whether the Senate is an anachronism that no longer serves the best interests of democracy. States do not have the sort of parochial concerns that were once a part of the independent and geographically distinct colonies that made up the early confederation. Citizens migrate throughout the nation with little regard to loyalty based on home state affiliation. But the most striking illustration of the Senate having outgrown its usefulness is this chart I drew up:

[Detail breakdown in comments]

What I’d like to know is why do 31.4 million Americans in the twenty smallest states command a 40% share of the votes in the Senate, while 36.9 million Americans in California alone have only 2%? Is that democratic? Have those small-staters done something to deserve so much more influence over the country? Not so far as I can tell. Yet they have a theoretical veto power over the other 276 million citizens in the rest of the nation. That’s just not right.

What this amounts to is that a bunch of states that are mostly inhabited by brush and rodents have an inordinate sway over the laws that govern the vast majority of the country. And it’s often the senators from those small states who are the most obstructionist members of the body.

Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe senators should represent districts whose lines are determined by population rather than by state boundaries. That would seem to be a much more fair and democratic way of handling this. Personally, I’m pretty tired of watching 10% of the country dictate how the other 90% are going to live.

I know this is not a new question, and there are barriers to any substantive change (mainly because the same small-staters would oppose it in the Senate). But it doesn’t hurt to bring it up from time to time and to hold out some hope that positive, democratic reform might still be possible. Because, in the end, no one should be allowed to be more equal than anyone else in America. No, seriously.