P.O.P. — Protect Our Press!!!

I did not and will not write an analysis of Trump’s speech in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday night.  Simply put, it was a disgusting display of lies, self-promotion, arrogance and rants against anyone and anything that has opposed him for the past seven months.  Oh yes, and throw in some bullying and a few threats as well.  That said, there is one element of his rambling speech that does bear shining a light on, and that is his almost non-stop attacks on the free press.

free-speech-3For those of you who read my blog regularly, yes, I AM obsessed with the freedom of the press and rail loudly against anything I perceive as a threat to it.  Why?  Because the free press is every bit as much a part of those checks and balances that rein in the person sitting in the Oval Office, and that person needs to be reined in, perhaps more than any in recent memory. Without our free press, we have no claim on being a democratic republic, a nation where people are free to speak their mind, even when it is to disagree with the person in the White House.

Is the press perfect?  No, of course not.  Could they do a better job?  Certainly.  In the words of one of my favourite New York Times writers, Nicholas Kristof …

Kristof-2.jpgLook, we in journalism deserve to have our feet held to the fire. We make mistakes all the time, and too often we are superficial, sensationalist, unfair, defensive or diverted by shiny objects. Critics are right that we in the national media are often out of touch with working-class America, and distressingly often, we are lap dogs instead of watchdogs.

Yet for all our failings, journalism remains an indispensable constraint on power. Trump has systematically tried to delegitimize the institutions that hold him accountable — courts, prosecutors, investigators, the media — and that’s the context for his vilification of all them, for we collectively provide monitoring that outrages him.

During Trump’s campaign-style rally (when will he realize that a) he won the bloomin’ election, and b) he will be long gone before the next?) he called journalists “sick people”, accused the news media of “trying to take away our history and our heritage” and questioned their patriotism. “I really think they don’t like our country,” he said.

free-press-2.jpgFor more than a year we have listened to Trump disparage the press, but on Tuesday he seemed to kick it up a notch or two. Margaret Sullivan, a media columnist for The Washington Post, called it “the most sustained attack any president has ever made on the press.”

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Cecilia Vega said on Wednesday of Trump’s Tuesday media-bashing that “this was incitement, plain and simple. This one felt different. It really feels like a matter of time, frankly, before someone gets hurt.” The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has identified 16 physical attacks on journalists in 2017,  in addition to 20 arrests of journalists and 12 searches and seizures.

Mr. Kristoff agrees with Ms. Vega’s assessment, saying, “When Trump galvanizes crowds against reporters in the room, I worry that we may lose journalists in the line of duty not only in places like Syria but also right here at home. Trump will get people hurt.”

free-press-3.jpgDonald Trump and his supporters keep pointing to the 2nd Amendment, but today I point to the more important 1st amendment.  The freedom of the press to do their job, to keep us apprised of what our elected representatives are doing, is a stanchion of our very democracy.  They are not perfect.  Many a morning I get up, open up the New York Times or Washington Post website and utter a sigh of disgust as I am faced with story after story issuing the same news I read before I went to bed three hours earlier.  More often than not, I have to dig for the tidbits of real news, else go to European sources such as Reuters, the Guardian or BBC.  But perfect or not, they are ours.  They are trying, and I do not wish to live in a world without them.  I do not intend to live in a nation where journalists can be arrested for reporting something that the prez disagrees with or simply does not like.

A bit of true irony here … Trump keeps referring to the “failing New York Times”, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

NYT-stock.pngThe price per share of New York Times stock has nearly doubled, from $10.80 on November 3rd, to $19.95 on July 27th.  And readership?  According to CEO Mark Thompson, “We added an astonishing 308,000 net digital news subscriptions, making Q1 the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history.”

nyt-readership.jpg

That’s failure?  I can’t wait to see success!

Mr. Kristof’s closing words will serve as mine also:

This is an extraordinary moment in our nation’s history, for we are enduring an epic struggle over the principles on which our country was founded. These include the idea that a flawed free press is an essential institutional check on flawed leaders.

So may I humbly suggest that when a megalomaniacal leader howls and shrieks at critics, that is when institutional checks on that leader become a bulwark of democracy.

35 thoughts on “P.O.P. — Protect Our Press!!!

  1. It’s scary to think about what it’d be if Trump got his way. Also sad that his followers can’t see how much like Nazi Germany it would be news/propaganda wise if he got his way! For people who claim they want to uphold the Constitution, they certainly like cherry picking what they support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is exactly what they do … cherry picking. Like at a yard sale … “I’ll take this, and that, but no no … none of those, thank you.” My opinion as to why they cannot see the parallels to Nazi Germany or even 21st century Turkey, is that they are not well-read. Not all, mind you … but I believe the majority do not read much, and Trump has them convinced that anything they read is probably fake news anyway. I actually have one friend, a Trump supporter, who is in her 60s and brags about the fact that she has not read a book since high school!!! Again, it’s only my opinion, but I see this as a large part of the reason people think Trump is the answer for the problems of this country. The other part, I think, is arrogance and the ol’ “make America white again” ideology. Sigh. Sorry … I’ll step down off my soapbox now 🙂 Frustration just sometimes gets the best of me … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know why anybody would brag about that, but more and more lately, I find people putting me down for being an avid reader, and more for having a college degree (a few, actually, but I try not to mention that to them). Soon there will be a word for those who hate or fear educated people … ‘eduphobic’?

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm … that’s a thought! Perhaps one Saturday I will do a piece about Rockwell and include samples of some of his paintings! Thanks for the idea! And yes, we are once again fighting for the values and freedoms we already won once. Who would have thought we would go backward instead of forward?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,

    I have been a huge critic of the mainstream media. I have even blamed these outlets for helping DDT to win the WH. But I would defend the need for a free press with my last breath, if necessary. This is one of the first pillars that a totalitarian government wants to get rid of in order to garner more power.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too, Gronda. And in truth, the DID play a role in helping Trump get elected, and they have even admitted as much. They are not perfect, but they are trying, and good or bad, we are doomed without them, so I will support them until my last breath! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. His constant wearing away of all shock like water dripping on stone is bad enough, but his defaming of the press is not just shocking it’s dangerous. I still cannot understand how those around him with influence let him do this all the time. Where are the family members and Republicans who will speak out and say clearly that this in unacceptable. The man LIES. What kind of example does he set to the young, like boy scouts. Oh, sorry, we know, don’t we.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have wondered the same. Since those in his cabinet and his other aides’ fates are closely tied to his, wouldn’t you think they would be trying to rein him in, to talk some sense into him? Or perhaps they have tried and it simply isn’t possible. And yes, his denigration of the press is totally unprecedented and unacceptable. What example is he setting for our youth? As you said, the boy scouts got quite an earful a few weeks back, and you can see how his sons turned out, so … that answers that question! I’m going to try again to trade him to Canada in exchange for Trudeau. I tried it in the spring and had no luck, but maybe it’s time to try again … 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My next post will be on those with a history of vehemently attacking those who dare criticize them. Trump is failing to learn the lessons of history. If he is not guilty, why is he acting like he is.

    Like

  5. Apparently “freedom of speech” only applies to those who are complimenting Drumpf or spouting racist, misogynist BS. And the more he rants about the fake news, the more you know the press (and others) are getting under that thin skin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, apparently you are free to speak for him, but if you speak against him, you are ‘fake’. He is, indeed, guilty and I still think he may attempt to dismantle the …. ??? …. ???? okay, it is 5:00 a.m., I haven’t gotten to bed yet, and I just completely lost that thought. Good night, Emily … 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a point! I would say that few, if any, have converted to Trump’s way of thinking. He has certainly done nothing to change my mind about he and his ideology, if he can be said to have an ideology!

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘Drumpf’s speech in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday night. Simply put, it was a disgusting display of lies, self-promotion, arrogance and rants against anyone and anything that has opposed him for the past seven months.’
    #DefendFreePress .. #Resist …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing this post, my friend! I hope all is well with you … I’ve been overwhelmed of late, plus suffering some serious vision problems, so I haven’t been able to get to reading friends’ posts as much as I would like. Many hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many hugs, dear one. Feel better soon! ❤️
        I, myself, have been overwhelmed is an understatement for me. I’m worn out … I’m so sad, dejected, almost broken, impatient. Can’t take much of this … for the long run!

        Liked by 1 person

          • I got your hugs!! Badly needed … I AM staying away from news, as much as I can. But he’s always there, everywhere. One can’t avoid him. Looking at him makes me sick … 🤢 … let alone hear his voice!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I agree … I refuse to listen to his nauseating voice, and avoid his picture as much as possible. Take care … keep strong! We are together in this and once this fight is won, we shall celebrate! Champagne and balloons!

              Liked by 1 person

                • No, we are not wishing for too much. We are simply wishing for a restoration of sanity to our government. We deserve at least that. Otherwise, I fear the divisiveness we are seeing may become permanent and at some point, we will lose what this nation stands for … or once stood for. I fear a loss of humanity if things don’t change. I am already seeing signs of that. So no, we are not asking for much.

                  Liked by 1 person

  7. Freedom to speak out is slowly disappearing. I worry because without honest objective reporting, we are left only with subjective, brainwashing propaganda. Under such circumstances, every atrocity against humanity and the environment in general will serve only as a manipulative tool to control. Be careful what you believe and question everything. Fake news and events are coming from those in power, not those that simply report it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Quite so, my friend. I am actually quite proud of most of our mainstream media for not backing down, even under Trump’s bullying tactics, threats and denigration. They aren’t perfect, and they don’t always get it right, but they are our last best hope to maintain our freedoms, and I will fully support them.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Protect Our Press – The Militant Negro™

  9. All the countries who currently have dictators went down this path. Turkey is in the process now with papers closing, reporters arrested and/or harassed. Very soon all that will be left are state controlled organs of carefully released news.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I often look at Turkey and wonder if we are not following in their footsteps. Erdogan is much more polished, more intelligent than Trump … I hope this means that Trump cannot succeed as Erdogan has, but … I’m never quite sure. Sigh.
      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      Liked by 1 person

I would like to hear your opinion, so please comment if you feel so inclined.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s