President Trump’s Comments About the Press are UnAmerican
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Since the inception of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, the press in the U.S. has enjoyed more extensive and free reporting than just about anywhere in the world. Despite attempts in the past to smear it, the press has persevered and remained a free entity, acting as another piece of the checks and balances on the government. However, more recently, the press has been openly scrutinized by the head of the U.S. government. It is not uncommon for the president to be critical of the media. However, what President Trump did goes far beyond the normal criticism. President Trump said that the media is “the enemy of the American people” at a recent press conference. This could not be further from the truth.
The essential part of a free and democratic society is a free press. Without a free press, democracy simply does not function, as the people are uninformed about the workings of the government. This is seen in countries that don’t have a free press, such as Russia, where the people are kept in the dark about the works of the Kremlin. The fact that President Trump has called the press the “enemy of the American people” while the press is being silenced by governments in other nations is sickening to say the least. Also, the Trump administration recently barred numerous news outlets, including CNN, New York Times, LA Times, Politico and others from attending a press briefing, while Breitbart was allowed to attend. The administration seemingly is trying to freeze out media outlets that are critical of the president, which is the precedent set by dictatorships around the world.
It also seems that Trump only attacks the press that is critical of him. Trump openly calls CNN, ABC, NBC and anything else that prints anything that paints him in a negative tone “fake news.” This is all while Fox News and Breitbart get openly praised by the president, even as Breitbart has run racist, anti-semitic and sexist articles. These are evident that in order to be “real news,” a publication simply cannot run negative articles about the president. This is a dangerous precedent to set, as the only leaders that only accept positive coverage of themselves are the dictators of authoritarian regimes. Now, this is not to say that Trump is a dictator and the U.S. will fall into an authoritarian dictatorship, but the fact that he is turning the media into his own personal punching bag is alarming on its own.
While the Trump administration is increasingly hostile to journalists, that just means that the press has a bigger job to do. In order to have a functioning democracy, there needs to be a free press, and with the current administration, there needs to be a lot of research and digging to keep the administration honest. The media is not the enemy of the American people. They are the informers of the American people. There needs to be great support for the media, far greater than the support they are getting right now. Without the media, this country would be no better than an authoritarian dictatorship. The country needs the press in order to function properly. They are not the enemy. They are the ally.