Just two weeks ago, the media was falling all over itself to claim that President Trump was turning a new page after his “more presidential” first address to a joint session of Congress – perhaps willing it to be true. But within days Trump was continuing his dangerous assault on the First Amendment and the media – often via Twitter, but also on cable news, in the briefing room, at conferences, and at rallies – and he shows no sign of letting up. Here are his most recent tweets:
Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
It is amazing how rude much of the media is to my very hard working representatives. Be nice, you will do much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2017
Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2017
Don’t let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin. We are getting along great, and getting major things done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2017
Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
From baseless and inflammatory charges that the media “manipulated” images of the inauguration to make him look less popular, to accusations that the media covered up fake terrorist attacks in Bowling Green, the president and his staff don’t hesitate to throw around claims of “fake news,” “failing,” and “dishonest” to discredit the media and his critics.
The ongoing campaign by the president to smear any news outlet or reporter that doesn’t portray him positively is a threat to democracy and the people. Even without using the force of law to silence the press, the chilling effects of Trump’s attacks is a real threat to a free and independent media.
The First Amendment protects the right to protest, dissent, and petition government for a redress of grievances, but these rights cannot be exercised without a free press that provides information to the public. That is why earlier this month we signed onto a letter condemning in the fullest terms the actions President Trump and his supporters have taken to penalize, delegitimize, and intimidate members of the press.
Starting today, you can vote for a free press with their dollars and your time. Just as we rely on the press to inform us about our political officials, they rely on us for readership and revenue. Pay for the articles you read. Tweet about the news segments you are watching. Subscribe to your favorite publications. Like your favorite reporters on Facebook. Resist.