What I have to say has already been said, and by people far more articulate than I am.
But woe to us as a nation if it isn’t said again. And again. And again.
The Trump administration has made it clear: The news media are the enemy, and war has begun.
A sad truth of human nature is that people love conflict. They’re tempted to sit back with popcorn and beer, turn on the telly and revel as President Trump disdains reporters as purveyors of “fake” news and chuckle as Spicer’s news conference—which the dictionary defines as “a formal meeting for discussion,” a definition he apparently failed to read to the end—consists of him turning a fire hose of contempt upon reporters.
Then there’s Conway’s threat—and that’s the only way to characterize it—that if the media continues to challenge the press secretary’s pronouncements, “we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
Still entertained? You shouldn’t be. You should be horrified.
Politics has nothing to do with it. Even the most fervent Trump supporter should be appalled by these antics. Spicer insists he will hold the news media accountable, and so he should. But accountability to truth and facts, to balanced and fair reporting, is not what he and Conway are championing. What they want is the news reported their way.
That, folks, is known as propaganda.
Not every news outlet is robust in its reporting. But the moment we dismiss them all—or allow our government to do so—is the moment we stop being a free nation.
As in my last blog, I quote Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black: “The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to bare the secrets of government and inform the people.” (emphasis mine).
That protection comes straight from the Constitution. That’s the rulebook that President Trump—and by extension, his administration—swore to “preserve, protect and defend” last Friday. It’s a protection that every journalist, every PR professional, every politician, every American citizen must vigorously defend.
The old saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” was never more true and relevant than it is today, with the destination frighteningly near.
Discrediting the Fourth Estate is the first step toward totalitarianism. Not caring is the second.