Trump “Trumps” the press

Since the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, or even the start of his campaign, there have been a slew of suppression strikes against the press, often claiming they are reporting “fake news.” This is funny as one of the president’s closest correspondents, Kellyanne Conway, reported a massacre in Bowling Green, claiming nobody knew about it because the press, as a whole, chose not to report on it. Now here’s the funny part: there was never a massacre in Bowling Green. Kellyanne reported fake news on national television.

Since her comment about Bowling Green was a false statement, according to Trump’s belief, she can be sued. Trump said, “I’m a big believer, tremendous believer, of the freedom of the press. Nobody believes it stronger than me, but if they make terrible, terrible mistakes and those mistakes are made on purpose to injure people — I’m not just talking about me; I’m talking anybody else then, yes, I think you should have the ability to sue them.” So according to this statement, the American people, are able to sue Kellyanne Conway on account of her fake news that “injured” the people affected by it; mainly the race in which the republicans in the White House believe to be terrorists.

Legally, the press is not allowed to report anything false, but they are protected by “actual malice.” According to the Legal Information Institute, at Cornell University Law School, “Actual malice means that a statement was made with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false.” In short, as long as the content was published by the journalist in good faith, all the information was as accurate as possible, it is legally publishable. This is contrary to what the president believes, as he stated on a Miami TV station, that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.”

Trump, as a tremendous believer in “freedom of the press,” has pledged to change the libel laws in a way that would undermine the First Amendment and the freedom of the press. While on his campaign run, Trump stated that we should “open up our libel laws so when [newspapers] write purposely negative stories…we can sue them and make lots of money.”

The First Amendment, a foundation of the country’s democracy, states that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” 

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Photo from CNN.com

To illustrate this attack on the press, on February 1st, 2017, a 45 second clip, of a press conference with the president, surfaced on Twitter. A journalist was trying to ask a question, and after being denied, the journalist calmly informed the president of his right to ask a question. The president quickly interrupted him, demanding he go back to his division.

The immigrant journalist, Jorge Ramos, told the president “You can not deport eleven million people and build a 1900 foot wall, and strip citizenship of the people in this country.” The president repeatedly told the journalist to “sit down” when a security agent approached the him, and placed his hands on Ramos in attempt to escort him out of the room.

Ramos did not fight back, but instead calmly told the man he could not touch him. As Mr. Ramos was exiting the room he told the president, “I have a right to ask a question.” Once the journalist exited the room, a Trump supporter can be heard telling Jorge Ramos, “It’s not about you, get out. Go back to your country.”

For context, Jorge Ramos is a U.S. citizen. Not only is he a Mexican-American citizen, but he is regarded as the best known Spanish-language news anchor in the U.S., as well as being listed as one of the top most influential people in the world in Time magazine. In addition to that, Ramos has been referred to as the “Walter Cronkite of Latin America.” Walter Cronkite was a CBS news anchor for almost twenty years, during which time he was cited as being “the most trusted man in America.”

After he was escorted out of the press conference, Mr. Ramos immediately made a statement following the incident. That statement can be found here: https://youtu.be/qPpxvf1niW8

This is just one example of the suppression, and disrespect, President Trump has enforced on the free press, the most influential press, the voice for the people. Just recently, Trump hosted his first independent press conference in which he blamed the “fake news media” for the poor  picture of the White House and his staff.

Despite the many times Trump has chosen to protect his ego before the American people, the people will not be silenced by the shake of a head and a closing door. Many protests and boycotts have taken place following the inauguration, speaking out against the president. 

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Photo from nymag.com

 

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