Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The US Constituton Does Not Guarantee A Free Press

Donald Trump has been attacking newspapers and TV news networks that do not tell the public what he wants them to hear.  He declares that the media are dishonest when they fact check the false claims that he makes on Twitter and in his public appearances.  His surrogates defend his lies by inventing an "alternative fact" universe in which facts are invented to protect lies from falsification.  The bulk of Americans are repelled by his lies and by his demands for worship.  Unfortunately, Trump's true believers are not interested in the truth, and those who believe that they will benefit from his policies don't care either.  Without a free press liars like Trump have the freedom to use the power of government for their own purposes.  There are no limits on Trump's ambition.  He wants to be in total control of the government just as he is in the businesses that he owns.  Democracy only works for Trump when he can control the information that voters need to make decisions that are in their interest.  Fake news, the social media, and foreign sources of information are the enemy of democracy and a free press is its only protection.

Americans who are offended by Trump's bizarre behavior believe that the US Constitution provides the legal grounds for free speech.  This article explains why the Constitution is a necessary but not a sufficient guarantor of press freedom and our democratic form of government.  Trump will only be happy when the press and the media declare his greatness.  He has the power of government and the support of many Americans who are more concerned about the freedom to bear arms than they are about protecting the press and media sources who do not feed their prejudices.

The bottom line is that Trump should be taken seriously by Americans when he attacks sources of information that are not under his control.  Americans need to understand what is really happening in Trump's government and redouble their support for our free press.  Support for the free press ought to be as important as many of the other freedoms that have motivated those who have marched against the would be dictator that is now our president.

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