Dear Donald Trump,
When the news broke around the world that you were running for President of the United States, a lot of us thought it was a joke. However, now, you've reportedly clinched the number of delegates needed, it is a bit concerning, considering the promises you have made and the way you have presented yourself to the general public.
I'll reiterate before I begin that as a member of the press, I'm not biased toward either of the two parties, nor am I really one to dabble in the world of politics. However,when I think of Mr. Trump, the poem "First They Came" by Martin Niemöller comes to mind.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then the came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
The they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me."
- Martin Niemöller
Mr. Trump, today, I am speaking out. What triggered me to finally raise my voice was your latest action, where you decided to revoke the Washington Post's press credentials. You claimed it was because of their "incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record-setting Trump campaign." This is not the first time you did this, though, as you've even banned the platform I am contributing to.
In fact, these two publications join five more publications barred from Trump's events:
When this news broke, Washington Post's executive editor, Marty Baron, released the following statement:
"Donald Trump's decision to revoke the Washington Post's press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press," Baron wrote. "When coverage doesn't correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along -- honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically and unflinchingly. We're proud of our coverage, and we're going to keep at it."
As a young, aspiring member of the Press, as well as a fellow journalist, I stand with Baron, and the Washington Post, as well as the Huffington Post. I know that it is our job as journalists to cover the news honestly, meaningfully and accurately, and that conflict of interest is absolutely forbidden. On the other hand, I also know that if the news is not up to the liking of one in a position of power, then our freedoms are taken away.
Apparently, this has been going on for a while, where you and your committee have denied press credentials to reporters. Huffington Post writer Samantha-Jo Roth said she has "written stories that have been critical of nearly every single presidential candidate" and had "never been treated this way, or not allowed media access ever." We have opinions, and are allowed to be critical. She also noted that it was happening because the articles were in the Entertainment section, and not the Politics vertical.
It is understandable if the reporter is behaving inappropriately, or printing outright libel, but in this case, in my opinion, the articles are only critical, and not up to your liking. This does not make the decision to ban reporters reasonable; it makes it an infringement on the Freedom of the Press.
Today seems to be a dangerous time for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 73 journalists were killed all around the world in 2015. The Charlie Hebdo attacks killed 12 journalists. In 2014, ISIS kidnapped American journalists, beginning with James Foley, and beheaded them in threats made against the United States.
Though it has only come to the point where you have revoked press credentials, you infringed on the freedom of the press, as well as multiple basic human rights. You want to track all Muslim-Americans in a database and make them carry identification cards because of the religion they practice. This is basically infringement upon one's religion.
Donald Trump, in my mind, has taken away freedoms cited in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
I may only be 19 years old, and I may not cover politics, but what you are doing is unconstitutional, and is not what the United States is representative of. This is the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave, but you are taking away our freedoms. I am a journalist, and I am taking a stand, for my voice and for my basic human rights, as well as my rights for citizens all across the United States.
If you really want to "Make America Great Again," the first step is to let us have our rights and our freedoms.