Holding Press Accountable Protects Freedom of Speech
March 13, 2017, An AP article titled "Advocates Say First Amendment Can Withstand Trump Attacks" is hysterical nonsense. The article concerned Sunshine Week but turned out to be another anti-Trump rant equating press accountability to an attack on free speech. What they fail to answer is why so much of the public including myself hold the press in such contempt.
First of all, Trump has absolutely no power to censor the press. As the article quotes Thomas Jefferson, "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper." Thomas Jefferson was entirely correct with today's corporatist' press. I believe the large-scale concentration of and control of the press by radical billionaires has compromised the integrity of the "Fourth Estate".
The "fake news" press complains about Trump labeling them "enemy of the people". While I wouldn't go that far, it's no less extreme than the vilification, slander, bias, and rumor-mongering that daily insults our collective intelligence from the same press. The fake-news New York Times is a case in point. On January 20 the day of the inauguration the New York Times headlines were screaming about "wiretaps" and the investigation of unproven Trump administration ties to Russia.
The fake-news Bristol Herald Courier ran similar garbage from the AP. Yet when president Trump mentions wiretaps he is called crazy, while the New York Times has never retracted that story. Now it turns out he was correct. Printing fake-news makes one fake news, sorry that's the way it is.
So-called First Amendment advocates whine and complain about general hostility to the press. No, the hostility is at the perceived bias of the press. In an actual free society, the press has no right to be pandered to or demand not to be scrutinized itself. The press does conduct large-scale censorship and bias on most political and social issues. It's virtually impossible to separate the front page from the opinion page in my view.
Wikileaks proved beyond a doubt the large-scale collusion between the press and the Democrat Party. The Bristol Herald Courier during the 2016 campaign was a virtual cheerleader for Hillary Clinton. They were weasel enough not to come out and endorse the candidate directly, but their utterly biased one-sided slanting and propaganda made this a virtual certainty. In an 18 day period in October, I counted 30-35 Trump hit pieces, editorial cartoons, and racial slander and maligning of Trump supporters, one letter to the editor for Trump.
In fairness, the Bristol Herald Courier was reprinting hysterical national press releases. But the blatant censorship of letters to the editor was virtually banned in particular in support of Pres. Trump during this period. The Bristol Herald Courier printed vile and racist attacks on millions of Americans, including many of the readers, but never allowed an opposition viewpoint to be printed. Thus it seems they agree Trump supporters were racist and Nazis. You print it, censor any response, that is an endorsement.
The press today is an organ of the country's elite and ruling class. This elitist ruling class is no doubt hostile to many of our citizens particularly working-class whites, conservatives, or believing Christians and Jews - and those that value individual liberty. As an organ of this hostile elitist culture, it's easy to understand why many would call them "an enemy of the people" because they almost are.
The dirty trick in this news article was equating criticism of the press as somehow being against free expression. Nothing could be further from the truth as many of us see the press, it's bias and political correctness, corporate control, and its attacks on many of us that disagree with liberal leftist positions, as the real enemy of free expression. Even now Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. have launched a full-scale assault and censorship of free expression, often mislabeled as hate speech, across their platforms.
It is a matter of time before we lose our last island of free expression known as the Internet. This has come from pressure from corporate advertisers. If President Trump's "bloviating" is bad, the media control and ownership in so few hands are a far greater threat to freedom of speech. Suppressed speech is not free speech and political correctness is anti-free speech. There is nothing in the Constitution about political correctness.
President Trump's opinion on jailing those who burn the American flag is just that, an opinion he has every right to express. I as a US veteran completely disagree on that issue, but I have a right to disagree. I have a right to question and disagree with the press and frankly, I have a right to call them any name I desire. President Trump has no power to jail anybody on issues such as burning flags and has given no indication of the use of government force on any such issue - he has no such power.
Printing unfounded fear mongering and hysteria is yellow journalism. Why does this article not mention president Obama's targeting of journalist James Rosen of Fox news or their targeting of AP reporters? This rightly or wrongly creates the impression of bias and that the press is operating as a surrogate for its wealthy owners nearly all supporters of Hillary Clinton. Kyle Pope editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journalism Review is quoted in the article as saying,
"We're clearly at a particularly polarizing moment, although this is something we've been building to for a long time. I think one of the mistakes the press made is we became perceived as part of the establishment. I think one of the silver linings of the moment wherein is that we have a renewed sense of what our mission is and where we stand in the pecking order, and that is on the outside, where we belong."
I wish this was true, but I see no evidence of it. Perhaps the real problem is we represent such differing cultures that we simply don't speak the same language. Our words have differing meanings and our worldviews are polar opposites. For all of our sake, we really need to have an open discussion and both sides need to do some soul-searching.
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