Free Press — Going, Going …

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 …Trump-tweetIt 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 …parscale-tweet-e1529091270137.pngThis, 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.”

Second …

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 …Rob-Rogers-1Rob-Rogers-2Rob-Rogers-3Rob-Rogers-4Turns 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.

46 thoughts on “Free Press — Going, Going …

  1. We must not forget that the media , like all other human institutions , are not free from the usual failings that manifest themselves in flawed humanity. Rupert Murdoch had a big hand in running the press in the UK and we ended up with the phone tapping scandal. Mr Murdoch was not with out political friends from prime ministers to presidents and still resides over a huge media empire.
    Important leaders get the media on their sides especially near election time when the stakes are high.
    The next question is what do the population prefer to read ? — I leave you to guess the most popular stories except to say bare politics leaves most citizens cold.
    We still have The Guardian and the BBC but will these left- leaning media outlets survive ? Nothing can survive without funds and funds come from popularity. This is why football is all the rage with Mr Putin because it makes him all the rage with the Russian and other world populations.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the republican party the great supporter of free trade ?( what ever that may be ) and the poor old Democrats protectionist by nature in their concern for fellow Americans ? Perhaps Mr Trump has been influenced but Democratic ideas in his crazy America first mantra.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh yes, the old “if it bleeds, it leads”. I DO sometimes forget that the media is ‘for-profit’ and thus subject to the whims of it’s customers who LOVE sensationalism! Murdoch is an ass who thinks there is nothing his money cannot buy. However, overall I think that there is a legitimate press that, while not perfect, do try their best to keep us informed and enlightened. I have noticed more and more lately that news outlets are asking people to subscribe to their websites. I have done so for the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Guardian. There are others I would support if I could, but I cannot afford to. However, it is a worthy cause, if it helps these outlets remain relatively independent.

      The GOP speaks, it would seem, from both sides of its mouth. Two quotes:
      “Open closed markets to create opportunity & spread freedom. The US must promote open markets and expand free trade. Not only does trade grow the American economy, but it spreads global freedom.”
      And …
      “U.S. should position itself to dominate trade.”
      Funny thing, but there are a few words that throw up red flags and set off alarm bells in my head: manipulate, dominate …

      That said, the GOP of yore is not the GOP of today. As I’m sure you read last week, the Republican Party is now the “party of Trump”.

      Like

  2. Jill, if Trump wants better press from those who take the time to do it well, he could start by telling the truth with consistency. He could also ditch the hyperbole, which is part of his sales schtick. He then could act like a leader rather than the spoiled brat he is. He then could do homework to know what the issues are and not what he made up or over-simplified.

    Placing tariffs on our allies for national security reasons coupled with separating children from their immigrant parent seeking refuge are two of the poorest decisions he could have made. The media did not make these decisions. Yet, he cannot assume accountability over these things. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • In reading the beginning of your comment, the thought occurred to me that no, I doubt Trump actually wants better press. I think all the negative coverage he gets is to his liking, for then he can play the look-how-unfairly-they-treat-me card, which gains him empathy among his masses. The only way his platform works is if he has ‘enemies’, be they real or perceived.

      His blame game tactics regarding the tariffs and the separating of children from their parents has worn extremely thin, perhaps even with some of his supporters. The fallout from the tariffs is already being felt, the ‘tax cuts’ have not resulted in more net pay for most, and then this abomination of taking small children away from their parents and charging the parents as criminals. All of these things have been wrought by Trump, but he is busily pointing fingers at everybody else. No, he has no interest in learning about economics and humanitarian issues … his only interest is in unfettered power, I believe.

      Like

  3. Trump fails to realise these tweets are becoming something of a joke against him and in consequence lowers his rating in terms of dignity amongst the unaffiliated.
    As for sacking a cartoonist, in a vibrant place such as the USA this would be the worse move they could have made. Jeff Danziger was cited in a book by some alt-right ‘ding-dong’ as one of the hundred things wrong with America, Danziger was very proud to be included. I imagine there will be several journals looking to employ Mr Rogers
    Whereas it is tempting to feel an alarm and comparisons with Germany in the 1930s and we could argue of the various points for ever, there is one salient feature in which the USA of 2018 differs from Germany of the 1930s.
    Hitler had the backing and loyalty of the security services….And Trump has……
    Annoyed the FBI, NSA and foot soldiers of the CIA…..
    Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 👏 👏 👏 Good case, Roger!!! I remember that book, though not Danziger. I agree with him, it would certainly be an honour to be in such good company! I’m betting money that Rob Rogers will have job offers coming in any day now, if he hasn’t already. The publisher tried to justify firing Rogers by saying he isn’t funny any more. I disagree … I thought his ‘toons were quite funny and spot on! And you are quite right … Trump is working hard to alienate the FBI, CIA and NSA. Perhaps they will be on the side of we the revolutionaries when we decide we’ve had enough. 🐹

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Jill,
    The free press is what makes this country great. I have noticed that everything I love about this country. President Trump and his followers hate.

    For example, I love the concept of diversity, I welcome immigration, I figure if I make good monies that I am grateful to pay my taxes. I love being generous. I admire truth, facts, evidence based thinking and decisions. I think good manners goes a long way.

    President Trump and his followers are living in a dark place.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘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.’ … the free press has been under attack since that FIDIOT started descending that escalator … I’m beyond words!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This morning as I revisit yesterday’s post to read the comments by followers, as well as your own…I see that I must have neglected to press post comment! I get so riled up about the insane things occurring on a daily basis, that were once thought impossible, now becoming accepted as “normal”. I shudder to think about a day when freedom of the press disappears. I have long been the fan and admirer of political cartoonists…the insight of these artists, their skills, their bravery to put their convictions onto paper. To silence the voices and pens of our press must never, ever be allowed. It is my hope that Rob Rogers finds another newspaper that will have the foresight to use this talented man’s gift. Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Believe me, I completely understand! I was literally shaking over both of these stories. I am betting it would take long for another newspaper to snatch Mr. Rogers up, for his work is great, and the majority of print news outlets do not lean toward the right, toward Trump. If he continues to allow children to be taken from their parents at the border, he may even find himself with fewer followers, for there is pretty widespread outrage over that! So much to keep up with, and how would we even begin to without a free press??? Those of us who have a voice, however small it may seem, simply cannot let the ball drop, but must keep making our opinions known.

      By the way … I put a song on the Saturday Surprise post that I hope Benjamin will enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. we need to not just write about our fears and frustrations, but actually get off our collective terrified asses and visit our congressmen and senators and push them on a regular basis to do the right thing. We need to assist with getting people registered to vote, and assist those people to get to the voting booth. ACTION is needed if we are to avoid becoming 1939 Germany…we already have concentration camps for people that are being blamed for our ills (immigrants) just like the Nazis did to the Gypsies and Jews and Homosexuals. We MUST wake up the American people.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right, Suze! And this is where I fall short. Being mostly deaf and not having a car, my protest venue is mostly limited to my writing, including emails to key members of Congress. But I agree with you … we must awaken the sleeping masses. We each have our strong suits, the venue that we are most capable in, and we must use those suits, those voices, for the good of this country. Thank you, my friend, for the timely reminder, and for all that you do!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Free press? The fifth estate? That disappeared back in 1970’s or such? Now the press are bloggers like yourself. Speaking out. Even if I do not agree with your writing? That is your right to speak thus. Mostly I support your points of view.

    As other thinkers writing their views respectfully. That is the power of a free press. Not some corporate nincompoop. Who are afraid of offending their sponsors or secret agencies. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    • But, my voice is minuscule as compared to that of the New York Times, or Wall Street Journal. And that is why it is so important to guarantee their freedom. Yes, they are for-profit and therefore subject to the whims of their consumers, but they still do a pretty good job of keeping us informed. Not as good as I’d like, but a heck of a lot better than Trump’s Fox or the Ailes-Bannon Breitbart.

      Cheers!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes Jill. People need to a)pay attention b) grow some balls c) learn to speak up and out d) Wake Up! E) be very afraid…finally Wishing things aren’t what they are won’t make it go away and turning away is a silent ok. It is NOT ok!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • All your points are excellent. I think too many simply put faith that the Constitution, the law of the land, will equalize and stabilize the whole mess. But unfortunately, Trump considers himself above the law, and so far Congress has not been willing to teach him differently. So it is imperative that we all use our voices and that the blind followers take off their blinders and look at what is happening here. No, to sit silently is NOT okay.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Sorry doing this on my phone and hit the wrong thing. 2 things- Trump wanting Russia back to G8 and Sessions explaining the immigration policies using scripture and smiling about it. Started a post about it but needed a break. We can’t let them win.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed! Sessions was particularly maddening, considering that he was speaking to that horrible practice Trump has implemented of separating children from their parents at the Mexican border. Trump demanding that Russia be let back in was not unexpected, was foolish, and won’t happen. More likely, the G7 will be the G6 by this time next year.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Jill … all I can do is “like” this post. I can’t really say what I’m thinking!

    What’s happening in this country is not only frustrating and infuriating, but it’s getting to the point of being SCARY as well.

    Liked by 7 people

    • It’s been scary for a while now, my friend. We just keep doing as much as we can to protest, to point out that this is not normal, this is not the way it is supposed to be, and the man in the Oval Office is a power-hungry, corrupt madman. But we don’t … we DO NOT give up, for to do so would be to give in and we will not become 1930s Germans!

      Liked by 3 people

  12. You must be almost at the bottom of the slippery slope now Jill. Things will start to turn around as more and more people realise just what Herr Fart said today and how he sees himself. Even his own minions are unlikely to believe his claim of sarcasm, after all he probably can’t spell it.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello David. I think you may be giving too much credit to the tRump supporters. I am having a running conversation in the comments on my blog with one and he doesn’t see anything wrong with anything tRumps says of does. It is the fault of the democrats ruining the economy that put tRump in power according to him. He also believes in massive reverse racism and government assistance programs are ruining the country. Hugs

      Liked by 3 people

    • I dont see that happening sorry. Napoleon said something like religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. They keep using religion to control the masses. They tell people God put Trump in office. Scary

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dearest David … while I wish I could agree with you, I fear we still have a long way before we hit the bottom. His blind followers are still enamoured, and I suspect will not change their minds even when it starts to hit them where it hurts — in the wallet — as it will do within 2-3 weeks. They will blame Obama. They will blame Hillary. They will blame “bleeding-heart-liberal-snowflakes” like myself, and they will blame … heck, the will blame that trash collector before they will realize that they have been conned by a conman. Sigh. I hope you are right … but I have little faith these days in my fellow humans.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 2 people

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