Free Press

8

Reactions to Donald Trump labelling news media “the enemy of the American people” from: 

  • David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama
  • Carl Bernstein, investigative journalist and author who covered the Watergate scandal and was the first to suspect that Nixon was involved
  • Gabriel Sherman, national affairs editor at New York magazine
  • Eliot A. Cohen, scholar of international affairs and former counselor in the United States Department of State
  • Jesse Berney, writer and activist
  • Andy Greenwald, writer and critic
  • David Evan McMullin, former CIA operations officer and independent candidate during the 2016 United States presidential election

Sean Spicer, December 2016“We have a respect for the press. When it comes to the government, that is something that you can’t ban an entity from. I think that’s what makes a democracy a democracy, versus a dictatorship.”

Sean Spicer, February 2017: CNN, New York Times, Politico, and other news outlets are banned from a White House press briefing. 

(original video source: Politico)

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
—  Supreme Court Associate Justice Hugo Black, concurring opinion in New York Times v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)

“We stand ready tonight, as we have always stood in our history, to test our system against any other on the field of thought and belief and the work of peace, for on that field, freedom will never lose. We have always welcomed dissent. We have never muzzled disagreement. Pick up any afternoon paper and you will see proof of that, for the truth of this Republic’s durability tells us that men worth of the Presidency must be measured by the highest rules of responsibility.

The Presidency of this Nation is no place for a timid soul or a torpid spirit. It is the one place where a petty temper and a narrow view can never reside, for the Presidency is both a legacy from the past and a profusion of hope for the future…The basic freedoms – the world that Franklin Roosevelt envisioned and that John Kennedy worked and died for – have taken on new meaning in our time. They were not fully realized in Roosevelt’s generation, nor will we fully reach them in ours. But they are a part of our heritage.

 And from that heritage Americans must draw the goals and the guidance that are best suited to their own time. We are determined to preserve in the future what we have received from the past. But we are also aware that only by accepting the arduous, uncertain, and most of the time very lonely duty of interpreting and pursuing democracy according to our convictions of today – only then can we hope that our posterity will say to us: ‘They, too, guarded and handed on the Great Experiment’.” 

President Lyndon B. Johnson, Miami Beach, Florida, February 27, 1964

Presidential
  • George W. Bush: I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold power to account. Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.
  • Barack Obama: You're not supposed to be sycophants, you're supposed to be skeptics, you're supposed to ask me tough questions. You're not supposed to be complimentary, but you're supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here.
  • Donald Trump: Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!

It’s crazy what we’re watching every day. It’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked, and the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening, and we’re fools for asking the questions?

No, sir. We’re not fools for asking these questions. And we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people. Your supporters will support you either way. If your people were on the phone with her, what were they saying? We have a right to know. We absolutely do.

And that you call us “fake news” and put us down like children for asking these questions on behalf of the American people is inconsequential. The people deserve that answer at very least.

Hey today is a good day to call or email your senators to urge them not to re-confirm Ajit Pai as the chairman of the FCC. Pai has been vehemently anti net-neutrality and pro corporation control of the internet. Calling your senators today is a good way to stand up for net neutrality!

I sent my senators a fax using Resistbot because I didn’t have the spoons for a phone call! So there are plenty of ways to contact your senators if you don’t like talking on the phone!