Donald gets comeuppance: just who’s our true enemy?

Posted by Tom Camfield

“Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

How will Donald spin all this after his GOP Senate passed a resolution that affirms “the press is not the enemy of the people; reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States, and it is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.”

The vote came after more than 350 U.S. newspapers launched a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organizations as enemies of the American people. "A central pillar of President Trump's politics is a sustained assault on the free press," said the editorial by the Boston Globe, which coordinated publication among the 350-plus newspapers.

Trump has frequently criticized journalists and described news reports that contradict his opinion or policy positions as fake news.

—A highlight was this Trump tweet of Feb. 17, 2017: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is (sic) not my enemy, it (sic) is the enemy of the American People!” ("media" is a plural noun)

—On a later occasion, he claimed without evidence that “90% of media coverage of my administration is negative” and said he would “not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry”. (it’s not dying, Donald; it’s enlivened by your despotic assault on our society.)

—As recently at Aug. 18, one tweet  stated: “. . . Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems…"

—On Aug. 5 (at 4:38 a.m.) he tweeted: “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!” 4:38 a.m.!—Hatred and egomania, it appears, never truly sleep (No wonder Melania doesn’t sleep with him).

—He lashed out again on the day of the Senate vote on the resolution that is the basis of this blog, tweeting "THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!"

"We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, including the First Amendment,” said Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat and an author of the Senate resolution. "Today, every senator upheld that oath by sending a message that we support the First Amendment, and we support the freedom of the press in the face of these attacks.”

The White House did not immediately comment on the Senate action.

The “whereas” paragraphs of the resolution: “Whereas the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the press from government control and suppression; Whereas the freedom of the press (1) has been recognized as integral to the democratic foundation of the United States and (2) has endured and been reaffirmed repeatedly throughout the history of the United States; Whereas Benjamin Franklin in 1722 wrote, ‘Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freedom of Speech;’

“Whereas Thomas Jefferson in 1786 wrote, ‘Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost;” Whereas James Madison in 1789 introduced the freedom of the press to the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States; Whereas James Madison based the  freedom of the press on the Declaration of Rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which in 1776 declared, ‘The freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of Liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments;’

“Whereas President Reagan also said, ‘Today, our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever. The news media are now using modern techniques to bring our citizens information not only on a daily basis but instantaneously as important events occur. This flow of information helps make possible an informed electorate and so contributes to our national system of self-government;’

“Whereas Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in International Soc. for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672 (1992), ‘The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech;’ Whereas the United State Supreme Court also affirmed the history and intent of the freedom of the press in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), stating: ‘In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press protection it must have to fulfill for essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to ensure the Government. The press was protected so that if could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government;’

“Whereas tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions, and Whereas the United States, including the long-held commitment to and constitutional protection of the free press in the United States, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate, 

“Now therefore be it resolved that the press is not the enemy of the people,” etc. as quoted at the beginning of this article.

This all seems to be about as complete a response as possible to the continuing hateful tweets from Donald (often in pre-dawn hours, apparently from his bedroom) about “fake news” and the press being “the enemy of the people.” As has been so obvious to so many of us for so long, the real enemy of the people is an autocrat  at the head of our government—to wit: Donald Trump. He also is the real perpetrator of false “news.”

Unfortunately, this real news of the Senate resolution will make a momentary news splash, go unnoticed by most and fade into the catch-all that is “yesterday’s news.” Meanwhile, Donald’s anti-media harangue that has gone on for a couple of years on Twitter and in front of TV cameras will probably continue on—in the same old general meaningless terms, designed as simple-minded brain-washing.


CLOSE-TO-HOME TRICKLE-DOWN—The real-news Seattle Times reported Aug. 21: “Speaking at a guns-right rally this weekend in Spokane, state Rep. Matt Shea called journalists ‘those dirty, godless, hateful people’.  Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley, has long had a contentious relationship with the news organizations that report on him.” Shades of Donald Trump!

Almost unbelievably, Shea is one of eight lawmakers who was appointed to a task force to figure out how the Washington Legislature should keep and disclose public records. “The task force comes as a lawsuit brought by news organizations—including the Associated Press and The Seattle Times—questioning its long-claimed exemption from Washington’s Public Records Act . . . The task force was created after a court ruled in January that legislative leaders had violated the Washington Public Records Act by denying requests for records.”

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