The free press has been part of the American people since before we were a nation. In colonial days we had rebels (who were to become patriots following our successful revolution) printing pamphlets supporting rebel views and acts against the Monarchy and Parliament that ruled our people. “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine is perhaps the most famous pamphlets to come out, educating and persuading the colonists why we needed to rebel.
The founders realized that through a free press (4th estate) the people in this new government of, by and for the people, could be better educated and persuaded to act in the national interest. So much so that the first amendment of our Constitution protects free speech and the free press.
Now that is not to say that there weren’t problems with the government and the free press. Even in those early days, there were extremes in the press that irritated our elected government. Political opponents would go to the press to get stories, innuendos, embarrassing facts, and even dare I say “Fake News” printed to go after each other. Thomas Jefferson was adept at this in his battle against John Adams.
As President, John Adams response was to sign the Alien and Sedition Act legislated by the Congress who were controlled by the Federalists. Under the Sedition part of the act, it was illegal for anyone to express “any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against Congress or the president. Interestingly enough, it excluded the Vice President who at the time was Thomas Jefferson. People were arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison for “sedition”. This sparked debate across the entire country regarding what Free Speech and Free Press were. Adams and the Federalists lost after his first term.
When Jefferson became president and his Democratic Republicans (today’s Democratic Party) took over congress, the Alien and Sedition Acts were repealed and Jefferson confirmed in his inaugural address a new definition of free speech and press as the right of Americans “to think freely and to speak and write what they think.”
In the 200 plus years the relationship between the Free Press, Government and those running for office has always been fluid and mostly frosty.
After all it was a free Press that due to investigative journalism and revealing the facts to the nation, which brought down the Nixon administration.
It’s been a free press from the conservative side of the equation that has (via Fox News among others) that has hampered and misinformed the population about Democrats. Note that Dems never called for restricting Fox News and their allies from saying what they want, they merely defend themselves with the facts.
Since Fox came into existence and following Reagan’s repeal of the Fairness Doctrine (which required both sides to get equal time to present their views to the public), the free press has become more and more corporate. That is not to say that there still aren’t “liberal” journalists out there, however they are leashed by their corporate masters who are more concern with viewership, advertising and profits than telling the truth to the nation. Sadly it appears too many Americans prefer lies and innuendos from liars and provocateurs than basic, boring truth.
So our free press has become more corporate and due to their corporate control, and thus tend to go easy on conservatives, or those who “claim to be conservative” like Donald J. Trump.
Now Trump has made it a point to go after the media as a selling point to his base. He tells them they’re all (except for Fox) “Fake News”. Now that is interesting because the very concept of “fake news” came from Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign inundating social media with blatantly false news stories about Clinton and Democrats. In doing so, they got mainstream media to pick up on the stories and spreading the lies. This has been researched and confirmed and did have an impact on voter turnout. So now Trump tries to tell his supporters that the real news is fake news.
During his campaign, the media went easy on Donald Trump. The information was already out there regarding serious problems with his honesty, competency, professionalism, lack of real success. However the media only focused on his rallies with little commentary about the accuracy of his comments. When mainstream focused on Clinton it was only in context with Fake News and emails and not on her policy agenda or experience. Further, they didn’t even cover Clinton to the extent they covered Trump.
Trump received in excess of two billion dollars in free coverage. He received more coverage that didn’t educate the people on who he really was, the coverage was merely for entertainment value, ratings. With the help of Russian Bots, Fake News and a complicit/lazy mainstream media, Donald Trump fooled an ignorant nation and won the Electoral College.
Since being elected, instead of thanking the mainstream media for helping him in his win, Trump continues to attack them. It plays well with his base, but not the truth or majority of the nation. Media is only now starting to do the job they should’ve done during the primaries and election and are researching and reporting on Trump, his associates and his campaign. However, they still baby Donald Trump in their coverage.
They still tend to report out how successful and intelligent he is using the flimsiest of justifications, he won the election.
As with everything in Trump’s life, he’s been bailed out by others and this includes his presidency. It’s an easily verifiable fact that Donald Trump has failed in nearly every endeavor he’s been involved in, only to be bailed out later by others.
When Trump says or tweets something that makes no sense, media still tends to translate what they think he meant rather than simply say “that was stupid and made no sense”.
When Trump is interviewed and prefaces a comment with something like “most people believe” or “most people are saying” or “I think you’d agree” the media lets it go instead of responding “I don’t agree” or “There’s no polling to suggest that most people believe or are saying.”
When Trump out and out lies in front of reporters things like “Obamacare is a failure” they don’t immediately respond with “Show us the evidence” or better yet, “that’s a lie and we have the data to show it’s a lie.”
Mainstream Media, Donald J. Trump has no respect for the truth, reality and certainly not you. Trump uses people and institutions to his advantage and never thanks them, only causes them more harm and grief. You don’t owe him any more respect than he shows you.
He rarely ever has press conferences but he still meets with reporters or makes statements in front of reporters.
Call him out on his lies, call him out on his bizarre statements, and call him out on his stupidity as he makes his statements.
Trump’s support is at 36% and falling. Your support is higher but not by much. Give the nation a reason to support a free press even more, call this man out in front of his face and get his reaction live on air. By the way, it will be good for ratings.