The press, the media, are NOT the enemy of the people. Period.
Two news items this week have left me literally shaking with rage. The first you have likely already seen and heard multiple times, but the second was less publicized and you may have missed it.
First …It is reminiscent of February 2017 when, shortly after taking office, he called the press “the enemy of the people”. Since then, hardly a day has gone by that he didn’t refer to CNN, the New York Times or The Washington Post as “fake news”. As if all that weren’t quite enough, his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale tweeted …This, folks, is intolerable. No modern American president has publicly spoken this way about the press. Is this what Trump’s followers find so admirable about him? Is this what they mean when they say he “tells it like it is”? If so, then they need to understand that what he is doing is chipping away at the very heart of the 1st Amendment. As Jim Acosta replied, “Dictatorships take away press credentials. Not democracies.”
You may not have heard that cartoonist Rob Rogers was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after more than 25 years as the paper’s editorial cartoonist. Why? Let me show you …Turns out that the recently-hired editorial page editor, Keith Burris, and the publisher, John Robinson Block, are Trump supporters. As such, they took umbrage with Rogers’ cartoons. They began by blocking any of his cartoons that were critical of Trump, and when he was ordered to draw cartoons extolling the virtues(?) of Trump, he refused and then was fired.
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto’s statement:
“The move today by the leadership of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to fire Rob Rogers after he drew a series of cartoons critical of President Trump is disappointing, and sends the wrong message about press freedoms in a time when they are under siege.
This is precisely the time when the constitutionally-protected free press – including critics like Rob Rogers – should be celebrated and supported, and not fired for doing their jobs. This decision, just one day after the President of the United States said the news media is “Our Country’s biggest enemy,” sets a low standard in the 232-year history of the newspaper.
I’ve known Rob a long time. That has never stopped him from publishing cartoons that are critical of me, of my policy positions, or of my actions (or inactions) in office. He’s even made fun of my weight. But he is one of the best in the world at his time-honored craft, and I know people of all political persuasions stand with me in support of him, even if the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regrettably does not.”
These two incidents are not to be taken lightly, folks. These are direct hits on our freedom of the press, and make no mistake, but a free press – one able to criticize without fear of reprisal – is our only hope of knowing what our government is doing. Without the Post, the Times, CNN, ABC, Time, and a host of others, we are in the dark and will be spoon-fed only the propaganda of Fox, Breitbart, Hannity and Jones. We will be told only what Trump & Co want us to be told. I would ask every person who still supports Donald Trump – are you okay with that? Will you be happy to live in a tunnel, in a dictatorship where you have no voice?
A few days ago I was on the phone with my friend Herb, but we kept getting cut off every few sentences. On about the 4th attempt to continue the conversation, he jokingly said that it was probably Trump punishing me for all the things I have written about him. We laughed about it. That was 2 days ago. Today I am no longer laughing. Think about it.