This week, my friend, Brian Karem, editor of the Montgomery Sentinel and writer for Playboy, after months of abuse of the media by Trump, finally fought back. Calling out the President’s lies are not “fake news.” The press is not the “enemy of the people.”
President Trump, by calling the news media “the enemy of the people” and calling facts “fake news” is attacking all of us. Thursday and Friday he attacked Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Today he released a wrestling video, showing him punching and wrestling a person with a CNN logo on his head. He calls CNN FNN – fake national news.
There is a reason that freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment. The Founders set up an elaborate system of checks and balances that is being tested as never before, at least during our lifetimes. With a Congress unwilling to restrain the executive, willing to steal Supreme Court seats, an executive that repeatedly lies, insults, and bullies his opponents, an independent counsel that could be fired as soon as Trump thinks he can get a way with it, and a president that is unwilling or unable to defend the country against a Russian cyber attack, the media is our last line of defense.
We need the media to tell us what the facts are, what the science says, what policies are in our best interest and which are not, which leaders we want, and which we don’t. We need real information in order for our democracy to survive and thrive, not the insults and lies of the two year old in the White House. Many of us naively thought that the shooting of Steve Scalise would usher in an improvement in bipartisan relations. Trump does not want to get along. It did not take him long after Scalise’s shooting to go back to his aberrant behavior. He does not believe in man made climate change or that we urgently need to take action to save the planet for future generations. He refuses to accept that our country was attacked by Russia and to take any steps to prevent future attacks on our elections. He promotes fake news. He is willing to sacrifice the health of millions of Americans to secure a victory against the Affordable Care Act. We don’t know whether the attacks on the media, the insults, the vulgar piggish behavior is part of a strategy to distract from something more sinister, or the product of a deranged mind unfit to sit in the oval office.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” The press is not the enemy of the people, it is the protector of the people. He who attacks the press, attacks us, and is our enemy.