The Boston Globe’s editorial page proposed a coordinated editorial response from publications to President Trump’s frequent attacks on the news media. The US president, often grieves about how the general media covers, according to him, “in an unfairly way” and it has become very common for him to employ the term ‘‘fake news’’ when describing the media. The Globe has reached out to editorial boards to write and publish editorials today, August 16 2018 denouncing what the newspaper called a ‘‘dirty war against the free press.’’
Soon after assuming oﬃce in January 2017, Donald Trump accused the press of being an “enemy of the American people.” Bouts and whines about the media outlets became a symbol of Trump’s presidential campaign and have become a hallmark of his current presidency. This has distorted in a dramatic way one of the most sacred principles of the United States of America… The Freedom of Press.
The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.
It is the obligation of a free press to speak for the people, to challenge power, to inform you of what is happening in a country. A free press ﬁghts for the people’s right to know. Mexico is a ﬁne example of this principle. Hundreds of journalists have been murdered, men and women, who have given their lives for the sake of a free press. Journalists who experienced horrendous deaths (shootings, stabbings, drownings, burnings) and yet… media outlets receive hundreds of applicants every day, looking to become reporters, journalists and correspondents. Why? You might ask, because we believe that at some point in time, things will change. Because we cannot allow society to live in the dark. The world has lived through way too many dark moments and episodes and this is a matter to be taken very seriously.
Twentieth-century dictators and tyrants, such as Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Mussolini, or more recent, the Chavez-Maduro regime—had ALL, every single one of them, denounced their critics, but particularly the press, as “enemies of the people.” Their goal was to delegitimize the work of the journalists, reporters, correspondents as “fake and untrustworthy” in order to create confusion in the mind of the public about what is real and what is not; creating doubt about what can be and what cannot be trusted.
When it comes to freedom of speech, Trump´s administration is behaving just like the dictators and tyrants listed above. His actions are an example of a frontal attack on that freedom. The Trump administration has removed language about freedom of the press from its guidebook for US attorneys. Right now, in 2018, the “US Attorneys’ Manual” a guide to Justice Department policies written for US attorneys and other department employees, has been edited, for the ﬁrst time in two decades, with signiﬁcant changes to the “Media Relations” section. What has been removed from the handbook is a section speciﬁcally reminding attorneys of the public’s right to know. What is also gone is a section on the need for free press and public trial and what is added to the manual is a section reminding employees to report any concerns to their superiors, and requiring them to disclose any contacts they have with the media. As a news outlet, how can you not report this? It is not “fake news” it is a fact. However, when questioned about this, Trump roared “Fake news”.
When a journalist or media outlet challenges him, he attacks. He attempts to undermine the credibility of the publication and threatens free speech to those who disagree with him, which to this day, is the media and the 65,844,954 people who voted against him. When the 45th president of the United States attacks credible news sources as “fake news” and calls them the “enemy of the American people,” he encourages hate, separation, and reassures his mob that is all right to insult, dismiss, and threaten anyone that disagrees with him. It does not matter if it is members of the press, or people with a diﬀerent skin color, religion, sexual preference or gender.
Mr. Trump rejects a free press because he is like a child who throws a temper-tantrum after being scolded for his horrible behavior and bully comportment. No media outlet can remain silent after a candidate, president elect and now president, speaks about women like a sexual object, mocks a disabled reporter, has spread since his campaign, a rhetoric full of hate, full of division. A president who has threatened countries and insulted its presidents and citizens and has proved on more than one occasion his aversion to minorities, including speciﬁcally African Americans, Mexicans, gays and the disabled. Paraphrasing the words of Keith Boyki, a CNN political commentator, teacher of politics at Columbia, Harvard Law graduate and New York Times bestselling author.
“In Trump’s World: Obama: Kenyan, LeBron James: dumb, Don Lemon: dumb, Maxine Waters: low IQ, black countries: shitholes, black athletes: SOBs, Black tenants: unwelcome, Black workers: lazy, Central Park 5: guilty, Mexicans: rapists, Muslims: terrorists, Indians: fake… Nazis: very ﬁne people”.
Mr. Trump, needs to know one thing… We will not be shut up.
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