Thursday, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, decided in the spirit of working as a united country, that is was in his best interest, to call out those who earn a living as journalists. Yes, in Trump’s mind, he thought it was a good idea to let the journalists seated for his press conference that they are all dishonest. It wasn’t the first time President Trump called men and women, whose life work is to inform the public of workings of Washington D.C. No, Friday, Trump decided to take it one step further. The President tweeted this gem, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
Trump’s assertion that the press is the enemy to the country, to the American people is a very dangerous train of thought for the leader of the free world. Has anyone in his party or in cabinet or anyone just told him that the press is a vital component of the structure of the United States? To all politicians, the press can be a pain in the ass but it is also the profession that watches out for the average Joe. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at what the press has succeeded at.
Of course, in American history, the biggest story that the press broke has to the work of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward with their work on Watergate. Beginning in 1972 until 1976, this duo broke the story of the original break in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex. They then chased it President Nixon faced an impeachment trial but then finally resigning from the office. These journalists sought out the truth. Is that what President Trump is actually afraid of? The truth coming out?
So you say Watergate, that’s all you got? Nope, not quite. How about the work of those reporters at the Boston Globe who uncovered a pattern of moving pedophile priests rather than stopping them? The stories the Globe filed led to the discovery of pedophile priests in more than 100 cities across the nation and at least 100 more around the world. Their reporting led to the Boston archdiocese being accused of hiding more than 250 priests and brothers have been publicly accused of abusing minors. The Globe wrote 600 stories on priest sexual abuse in 2002 and won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the truth. See a common thread here, the truth.
In November of 1986, one of the stories of that decade broke and it wasn’t an American paper that told it. The Lebanese newspaper “Al-Shiraa” printed the first story ever on what would be known as the Iran Contra Affair. It was supposed to be a plot of trading arms for hostages. By the time the sales were discovered, more than 1,500 missiles had been shipped to Iran. Three hostages had been released, only to be replaced with three more. When the plot was investigated and probed the President denied his involvement, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council was fired for his involvement and National Security Adviser Admiral John Poindexter resigned. The Reagan Presidency was suffered but rebounded. When Reagan left his at the end of this second term his popularity ranked as one of the highest in presidential history. So the truth was told and the President survived. Does Trump think if the truth is told his presidency won’t prevail.
For President Trump to malign all reporters and members of the press like he does is a disservice to the United States. The Constitution protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The First Amendment protects the right to obtain and publish information or opinions without government censorship or fear of punishment. A state run press is a principle of Communism or Fascism. The press is also controlled by countries entrenched with a religious head of state. When President Trump calls the press names such as scum, “slime,” “dishonest” and “enemy of the American people” he puts a target on every member of the press whether it be Fox News, Rush Limbaugh or CNN.
After the manic press conference, Shepard Smith of Fox News, took the President to task over inflammatory comments he made to CNN’s Jim Acosta where the President said that CNN isn’t just Fake News it is Very Fake News. Smith stated that, “It’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous, throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked and the Russians were responsible for it and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening and we’re fools for asking the questions? No sir.” Continuing Smith stated that, “We have a right to know,” He then added, “You call us fake news and put us down like children for asking questions on behalf of the American people.” That was Fox News freaking out.
Finally, a breakthrough, a member of the press sticking up for another member. It has come at a price. Immediately, Trumpsters, jumped on every method of social media and denounced Smith, threatening Smith, and calling for a boycott. Amazingly, the sword cuts both ways but Trump hasn’t seemed to grasp that. Last week, Trump was furious over the cancellation of his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line being dropped from notable store Nordstrom’s. You see those who haven’t bought into the Trump show have created their own boycott of anything Trump. It hit Ivanka’s line hard but not so hard because on Amazon her fragrance was the number one selling this week. You didn’t see old Trump complaining about that, did you? No, he wouldn’t.
When the President of the United States declares war on the press it is a dangerous. Going back to the Nixon Administration, Nixon was proved to be paranoid he kept dossiers on different reporters. He also played the game that Trump does by calling only on certain reporters who he says likes him. If it wasn’t so sad, you might laugh it off as being so high school or immature but this is the person who literally has his access to a nuclear holocaust which he reminded us of at that press conference that stood out for all the wrong reasons.
This President has stopped acting like a legitimate elected President of the United States he is demonstrating behavior that resembles Napoleon or King George or even his buddy Putin. Trump had become an authoritarian with a fragile ego who sees enemies all around him except in Russia. Trump really become the storybook parable of the Emperor has no clothes. The Trumpsters who follow him without asking a question, of turning on anyone who asks a question, and who won’t allow the truth to even be spoken, are the townspeople and court of the Emperor. At the end of the story, when the child shouts out the truth, that is the role of the press. The press, and yes I include myself, must shout and shout until it is heard, “You have no clothes on.”
The truth must be told. Good and bad, ugly and pretty, it must be told. The press will not be intimidated. We won’t allow our government to go down in flames. We will use our voices, use our ability to write the facts and we shout out, “Hey, you’re naked.”