Don’t Look Now, But …

It is the job of the free press to keep the people of this nation informed.  In order to do so, they must be given access to our government, they must be allowed to ask questions and expect to receive honest answers.  Yesterday, that freedom was cut short by Donald Trump, the bully-in-chief.  It would be a mistake to let this slide, for it is not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last, that Trump has curtailed the freedom of the press.

It all began with a photo op with Trump and Kim Jong-un when a reporter for The Associated Press, Jonathan Lemire, asked Trump to comment on the congressional testimony of Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.  Another reporter, Jeff Mason of Reuters, had asked Trump a question about his commitment to de-nuclearization.  Note that this is common practice and every president in modern history has submitted to such questions.  But Donald Trump took umbrage.

As a result, mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that reporters from Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times would not be allowed to attend the dinner with Trump and Kim.  Sanders said that only photographers and television-camera operators would be allowed in … in other words, the American public would be allowed to see, but not hear.  Lauren Easton, spokeswoman for the Associated Press objected …

“The Associated Press decries such efforts by the White House to restrict access to the president. It is critically important that any president uphold American press freedom standards, not only at home but especially while abroad.”

Trump eventually allowed one reporter in … a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, owned by Trump’s good buddy Rupert Murdoch.  Whoopee.  Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, called foul …

“This summit provides an opportunity for the American presidency to display its strength by facing vigorous questioning from a free and independent news media, not telegraph weakness by retreating behind arbitrary last-minute restrictions on coverage.”

Methinks the American presidency has no strength to display, as became obvious when the summit became a bust and Trump flew home with his tail tucked between his legs, for he refused to compromise.  But that is a story for another time, as today the more important story is this one, the curtailment of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment by Donald Trump.

In recent months, the White House has sharply reduced the number of press briefings it gives and has cracked down on reporters who call out questions during the president’s public appearances. Reporters have publicly and privately been warned by White House aides that it is inappropriate to ask Trump questions in that context.  No, Sarah … No, Donald … it is NOT inappropriate!  There has been so much secrecy, so many blatant lies told to We the People, that reporters must work twice as hard to dig a rare gem of truth from this administration.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads …

“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.”

Denying access to an important … nay, crucial … summit meeting is an abridgement of the right to freedom of the press.  Hand-picking reporters who will be allowed to attend that aforementioned meeting is an abridgement of the right to freedom of the press.  Donald Trump and his mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee Sanders have stomped on our right to know what our government is doing.  We cannot … we simply cannot ignore this!

This is a clear-cut case of retribution and revenge taken on reporters for asking legitimate questions of the ‘man’ who is tasked with leading the nation.  Asking those questions was not harassment, but rather an attempt to get answers that We the People need, want and deserve.  Throughout history, the only presidents who have attempted to curtail the right of a free press have been those who had something to hide, such as Richard Nixon who, in 1971 attempted to prevent the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials belonging to a classified Defense Department study regarding the history of United States activities in Vietnam.  The Supreme Court, by the way, ruled against the government and in favour of the free press in that case of New York Times v. United States.

To wrap it up, I direct your attention to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.  A brief excerpt …

“More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion. The United States, the country of the First Amendment, has fallen again in the Index under Donald Trump, this time two places to 45th. A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters “enemies of the people,” the term once used by Joseph Stalin.”

Need I say more?

14 thoughts on “Don’t Look Now, But …

  1. “Freedom of speech and of the press are essential to the enlightenment of a free people and in restraining those who wield power.” – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Felix Frankfurter. Donald Trump would eradicate freedom of the press if he could, he has this proven time and again. This can not be allowed to happen. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh indeed he would! He would love it if he could shutter the doors to WaPo and NYT, among others, but I think even the most conservative Supreme Court Justice would knock that down.

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  2. Me thinks that Trump is the western equivalent of Kim Jong-Un or Putin, except without the good looks or brains. Oh well, so much for his art of the deal… talks fell apart. I wonder if warmonger Trump will consider invading N Korea as with Venezuela b/c his corporate masters & the military industrial complex gave him a direct order! His Nazi Security Advisor & statist secretary, Bolton + Pompeo, pushing hard for regime change all over the world. Continuous war with… everybody, it’s great for the bottom line, not so great for the American ppl. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I said when he was first elected, before he even took office, that he was a wanna-be king and that if given half a chance, he would take more and more power until finally he was in all but name, a dictator. I still believe that if he should by chance win a second term, he will do his best to find a way to ensure that there is no presidential election in 2024. The heck of it is that if you told that to most of his blind-faith followers, they would shrug and say, “Oh well”. One actually told me one day not long ago that she didn’t care if he were a dictator as long as he keeps doing such a “good job”. I nearly was sick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a very good call Jill. The old adage “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” applies here. If Trump wins a 2nd term, the empire would collapse under the weight of his oversized ego. He’ll run us all to the ground, only he and his donor class would survive the fallout. The obvious result would be a revolt from the lower classes b/c living under this type of dictatorial regime would be intolerable.
        I just watched a youtube video titled “How Wall Street Gave Us Trump w/Michael Hudson”. You saw right thru him from the very beginning, great call! Trump is a sleazy con-man who bamboozled the working class of America by making phony promises, all the while selling out his so-called constituents to his donor class of billionaires, wall street bankers and political cronies who stand to make even more money under his administration. The bogus tax cut is only the beginning, wait till you see when we go to war. Trump would gladly sacrifice our young soldiers for bloody oil wars, so long as he and his elite class (both Dems and Repubs) stood to profit handsomely from it. Did you notice, the Democratic party (traditionally the anti-war party) voted unanimously with the Repubs for regime change in Venezuela, and Ukraine/Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan before that. Why is it the US is the only country in the world who’s perpetually in some sort of international conflict?? Could this be by accident?
        Remember G.W. Bush’s infamous quote:
        “What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base.”
        Michael Hudson is a brilliant economist and analyst. His explanations about Trump destroying America and possibly the world makes sense. Give it a listen if u have the chance.

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        • Jill, I would ask your friend to define a good job. I would love to pose a few follow-up questions. As for the dictator comment, I would ask do you really believe that? You would throw away 243 years of freedom that people fought and died for Donald Trump? Keith

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  3. I’m kind of thinking that we should have a video photographer stationed to shoot the president’s lips alone. Then let’s hire a deaf dude to read his lips and translate.

    Or we could have a democratically-elected president who isn’t afraid of microphones.

    I prefer the latter, but yakno.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I LIKE the way you think!!! A lip-reader is a great idea! Like you, I much prefer a president who is qualified and who does not see himself as a dictator, but we will likely have to wait a bit for that. Welcome, by the way!

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  4. Jill, we have talked before about this, but maybe every article where the President us quoted, should START with a disclaimer, rather than just end with one. An example: The following story includes claims by the President which we can either confirm their relative veracity or where we were denied access to the President verify his sources.”

    Then, in the article parenthetically note after a claim (Mostly False) or (Pants on Fire False) or (Source unverified). Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent idea!!! I was reading about his version of why the talks with Kim Jong-un broke down vs Kim’s version, and I thought … if it comes down to Trump’s version or ANYBODY else’s, I will believe the other person, no matter how ludicrous their tale may be! Trump’s version didn’t make sense from the get-go, and the North Korea version sounds perfectly logical … in which case, Trump was not willing to compromise an inch. We know from the border wall/government shutdown/national emergency fiasco that compromise is not in his vocabulary. I do like your idea about the disclaimer right at the beginning. Or even one that says, “The story you are about to read is fiction …”

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