President Trump: News Media Is Not The Enemy

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President Trump, I know it’s easy to get confused by all the cameras and flashing lights.

The White House is not Trump World, and this is not another reality show. Our country is in your hands now, and you are commander-in-chief at least for the next four years. Congratulations!

Living in the White House basically means you have given up your privacy, except maybe when you use the bathroom, dress, change or sleep.

It’s OK. You are what’s known as a public figure. Maybe the most public one of all.

None of this is “fake news.” It is all alarmingly real and true, 100 percent verifiable. The White House is not a casino or posh resort. In the same way, The New York Times, the Associated Press and the Washington Post must be allowed to ask questions — often tough and uncomfortable ones— along with the rest of the press corps. They are not the so-called enemies of the people. It might seem like you get the short end of the stick when more “experienced” politicians try to trick you or play games. It won’t be hard. You are not a politician. But you have one thing on them — you are president.

Those who serve you as intermediaries with the press need to help you understand why you desperately need journalists and how you can affect their messages. Yet what you say must be accurate and reliable, as your counselor Kellyanne Conway, former Trump campaign manager, has learned the hard way.

President Trump you have made it this far . Part of Democracy is that you will have to tolerate reporters, even befriend them, as both Bush father and son say they learned to do during their presidencies. Both former presidents Bush defend the news media now, with George W. promoting press freedoms along with his new book about veterans, Profiles in Courage.

The Bushes are ardent defenders of the media, proclaiming the free press is part of what it means to live in a democracy.

Again, the press is not the bad guy, You might as well learn to live with reporters. They are not so bad. Don’t forget real enemies want to kill us and all we stand for, like ISIS. Many journalists have made the ultimate sacrifice just to do their jobs, from Daniel Pearl to James Foley.

The issues facing this country, including terrorism, gun violence, health care costs, the budget and immigration are all genuine issues that we expect you to help us tackle even as you turn worn, older and gray.

It is not my intent to be rude or offer a civics lesson but you might want go read the Constitution. Focus especially on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights, which protect the right of the people to protest, speak, read write, practice the religion of their choice (it does not exclude Muslims), And yes, it also guarantees a free press.

Journalists themselves have been the most eloquent defenders of the First Amendment from Trump’s attacks. Time Magazine editor Nancy Gibbs recently quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said famously, during the presidential campaign of 1800 that given the choice between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, he would not hesitate to choose the latter.” The press has always been a scapegoat for all the public’s problems, but it is not anyone’s main worry. Journalists in particular are often reviled because they tell people what they don’t want to hear and shine a light on issues unaddressed. I am not saying the press is perfect by any stretch. They are supposed to champion the voiceless, but sometimes end up being a megaphone for rich and powerful interests. Yet the Oval Office should be supportive of journalistic pursuits. So concerned that its readers needed a reminder that an unfettered press is a basic premise of democracy, The Washington Post actually added a phrase to its mast, “Democracy dies in darkness.” It is a lovely sentiment — and true.

The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik authored a great column basically showing former president Barack Obama was much more destructive to press freedom than Trump. Obama was worse than Trump on the news media

So none of this is new, or restricted to Democrats or Republicans , but it is as old as presidential history itself. The public which forgets to care about presidential politics or even vote, has protested Trump’s immigation policies at airports, annoying some travellers too busy to care. Now they may learn to take notice. The public may learn once and for all not to take its freedoms for granted. Maybe there will be some cracks in its usual antipathy for the media? One can only hope.

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