August 17, 2018

Freedom of the Press

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

“Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attacks on ‘fake news’ with a coordinated series of editorials in defense of a free press on Thursday... The campaign was set in motion by an editor at the Boston Globe.” (AP News)

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Most on the left participated in the initiative, while some dissenters argued that it will only add fuel to the fire.

“The United States is experiencing a historic press freedom crisis... at least 75 journalists have been harassed or attacked since the beginning of last year and 37 have been arrested, many of them while covering demonstrations, according to the US Press Freedom Tracker. Trump did not cause these problems. But instead of using his platform to rally the American public in support of the First Amendment, Trump's hostile rhetoric is fueling divisions.”


“That 44 percent of Republicans polled recently said Trump should have the... power to shut down news outlets shows how successful his efforts have already been.”

Kansas City Star

“Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the ‘enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period.”

New York Times

“The freedom of the press is an individual liberty, not the peculiar privilege of a profession or an industry. It is your right as an American to read what you will, to write what you think, and to publish what you believe... That is why attacks on the press, one of the great bulwarks of liberty, seek to abridge or deprive the people of their rights, as Madison would have put it to his colleagues.”

The Atlantic

Bucking the trend, the Los Angeles Times chose not to participate, stating, “The Los Angeles Times editorial board does not speak for the New York Times or for the Boston Globe or the Chicago Tribune or the Denver Post... We would not want to leave the impression that we take our lead from others, or that we engage in groupthink.”

Los Angeles Times

Another critic stated, “this kind of gesture represents a complete failure of the press to seriously reckon with the fact that a significant portion of the nation considers their work fraudulent and disposable, and why they do. So far, their chief bulwark against this has been screaming JOURNALISM IS IMPORTANT at you until you’re begging for mercy.”


The right is critical of the initiative, which it believes will be counterproductive.

The right is critical of the initiative, which it believes will be counterproductive.

“If you are a Trump voter who thinks that much of the press is reflexively hostile to the president, 300 of America's leading newspapers want you to know that you might be on to something... to prove we aren't the enemy, we in the media are going to band together and go after the guy who keeps saying we are!”

CBS News

“Announcing that dozens or perhaps hundreds of ostensibly independent editorial pages will publish similar Trump critiques at the same time probably isn’t the best way to expand readership among the rightward half of the electorate.”

Wall Street Journal

“Journalists need to report the facts in an unbiased manner... allowing us to make decisions – and not the journalists - on how to interpret the information.” Instead, mainstream media “exaggerate every action and word of President Trump, and most often report it in the most negative way possible. As such, much of the country is numb to their cries of collusion, meddling, impeachment, et al. Should the media grab on to a true story, it is doubtful that we will believe them.”

Townhall Finance

“That so many news outlets could be duped into participating in what is obviously a political stunt is not only disappointing but disturbing. It suggests their real agenda isn't informing people, even in their editorials, but bending the news to suit a leftist political agenda. The irony, of course, is that in participating... the media are proving what Trump says is true. They are biased.”

Investor’s Business Daily

If these newspapers’ editorial or reporting staffs were 20 percent, even 10 percent, made up of Trump supporters — keep in mind that the president won almost half of the vote in 2016 and has an approval rating north of 40 percent today — their news coverage would be dramatically different. But at the end of the day, protestations to the contrary aside, they have no real interest in doing so.”

National Review

“Some may ask where the press was on the coordinated editorial front when Mr. Obama and his Department of Justice

DOJ), led by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, acted as ‘the greatest enemy to press freedom’ since the Nixon years. That's a quote from New York Times reporter James Risen in 2015.”

The Hill

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster follower denied right to wear colander in ID photos.

The Guardian

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