President Trump Is Afraid Of A Free Press

By on January 11th, 2019

American leaders should not be driving a stake in the heart of a free press.

We need to be kept informed. Truth, facts, and a free press matter.

A free press that gathers facts and reports the truth is under siege in America and around the globe. Maintaining a free and open press is vital to protecting truth, justice and freedom here at home and across the world.

That’s why it was important for top journalists to help ring in the new year in New York City’s Times Square at the annual ball drop, watched globally by tens of millions, recognizing journalism and free speech.

“In one of the world’s most famous public squares, it is fitting to celebrate free press and free speech as we reflect on where we’ve been during the past year and what it is we value most as a society,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, the event organizer.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/31/times-square-ball-drop-journalists-honor-press-button-new-york

With the free press under attack, most notably here at home, by the POTUS, Donald Trump, it is fitting that journalist used the dropping of the ball in Time Square as a reminder of just how vital and fragile a free press is to preserving the values this nation was built upon.

The Washington Post began using a new slogan on its website in 2017: “Democracy dies in darkness.” Many commentaries connected the move with President Trump’s hostility to the press in general, and the Washington Post in particular. His relentless attack on the media is perverse and helps to undercut a vital institution to preserve our freedoms.

President Trump Assaults the Free Press

President Trump calling the media, “fake news” and the “enemy of the people” is disturbing and down right dangerous! What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed or perhaps worse, are misinformed and lied to by people we should be able to trust and believe. Factual information and understanding the truth is what keeps us free from tyranny and being governed by a dictator. Our very democracy and way of life relies on an informed citizenry.

David Leonhard, an opinion columnist for the New York Times, argues persuasive that Trump’s behavior, including his tearing down of vital democratic institutions and assailing the the free press are grounds for being removed from office. In his op-ed he methodically lays out how President Trump is demonstrably unfit for office and questions: “what are we waiting for?”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/opinion/sunday/trump-impeachment.html

From The Beginning

From our founding fathers to our most recent past president and without little exception in between, our democratic leaders have understood that while a free press can be a nuisance to those in power, it is vital for a functioning democracy.

Thomas Jefferson, got it right when he said, “Man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

“If you want a society that is free and vibrant and successful, part of that formula is the free flow of information, of ideas, and that requires a free press. A free press is a foundation for any democracy,” President Barack Obama chimef in centuries later.

The First Amendment to our 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.”

Our early leaders perhaps did not go far enough and should have anticipated a leader like President Trump that would use his authority to undermine the founding principles that are the bedrock of this nation.

Early on I had hope Donald Trump would rise to the occasion of being the leader of the free world. His behavior thus far shows that he is incapable of rising to the mantle of the office he holds.

President Trump attacks the media for same reason he attacks everyone -to escape accountability.

Members of his own party have had moral laryngitis for the most part, seldom challenging President Trump as he trashes the free press and other vital democratic institutions.

Romney Speaks Out

In a hard-hitting Washington Post Op-Ed, Mitt Romney, a 2012 Presidential candidate and now senator-elect from Utah, denounces the character of the president – the head of his own party. He promises to oppose White House priorities when he disagrees with them, and declared his intention to “speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest, or destructive to democratic institutions.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mitt-romney-the-president-shapes-the-public-character-of-the-nation-trumps-character-falls-short/2019/01/01/37a3c8c2-0d1a-11e9-8938-5898adc28fa2_story.html

Freedom of the press—the right to report news, offer opinion without censorship from the government—is considered “one of the great bulwarks of liberty,” by the Founding Fathers of the United States. Sadly, truth, facts and the vitality of a free press are fast eroding in America and extinguished in many other parts of the world.

We need more leaders to stand up and speak out about against issues and “leaders” that are tearing this nation apart.

Truth Under the Capitol Dome

We are fortunate in Michigan to have a Capital Press Corps of both traditional and non-traditional news outlets such as this publication, Bridge Magazine(www.bridgemi.com), and Advance Michigan (https://www.michiganadvance.com/) – each doing the heavy lifting that keeps us, as citizens, informed, if not enlightened.

When we know the truth, and the facts about what is transpiring in our government at the local, state and national level—thank a journalist.

Truth, facts, accountability and a free press matter.

Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins has an eclectic career in both the public and private sectors. He served the citizens of Michigan as state superintendent of schools and director of the department of mental health. He has held leadership positions in higher education, business and behavioral health. Watkins has a interest and passion in all things China and has written hundreds of article on the value of this most important bilateral relationship in the world today.

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Great article Tom! Thanks for sharing those links to resources as well.


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