I’ve recently offered my opinion through social media on the vagaries and alignment of two sides on an issue which should be fundamentally understood by all. That issue is “Freedom of the Press.” Some people wish to try on their hip waders and defend their position on the basis of the Constitution. Very well, let’s take a moment and see how well we understand the first amendment. Keep in mind this one thing above all, if one-side of the political system adopts this position, what would prevent the next party to do the same, once they’re in office?
“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.”
Place this in context with the position our President, Donald Trump, has taken with regard to some of those who represent the press. No other modern president has taken such a hostile position and altered policy to reflect such a position.
“WASHINGTON — Journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.
Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.
Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.
Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions.”
This constant claim that news organizations present false information, “fake news”, isn’t the responsibility of the President, it is ours. If we see, read, or listen to news that doesn’t align with the facts or misrepresents a statement made by others, it’s our duty to ignore or challenge this information.
The framers of the Constitution never intended to limit access, or control the message, anymore than they placed limitations on the type of firearms people are allowed to own, in the second amendment. This is how the Constitution functions best.
Placing limitations on freedom creates more harm than good. We don’t need a President to be our filter on the news. It’s up to us to access any and all information, and for those hired to do the work of journalist, to do this work to the best of their ability. When they fail, they fail us, but their bad or biased work shouldn’t qualify how the Constitution is implemented.
So ask yourself, if this is an action you support by President Trump, would you support this same action by a Democrat President? Freedom isn’t a gift bestowed on us by a benevolent government, it’s our inalienable right. I believed that over four decades ago when I signed up for the Marine Corps. I still believe it needs defending today.