Freedom of speech and freedom of the press don't depend on who pays your salary or on your education; they are rights of all of us, not just the New York Times.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2016 — You need not like Donald Trump to recognize that his treatment, and the treatment of other conservative candidates by the left-leaning media, is unfair.
Two writers for the New York Times, Patrick Healy and Maggie Haberman, apparently befuddled by Trump’s remarkable appeal and large following, chose not to try to understand that following, but instead jumped to historical comparisons. Rather than ask people why they like Trump, they focused on his word usage to compare him to “historical demagogues.”
Trump’s mouth gets him in hot water in more ways than one. But the sanctimonious tone of the Times article leaves one questioning the fairness of their reporting. Their sour description of Trump could have been easily applied to Barack Obama, a man the media have rarely scrutinized.
His entire campaign is run like a demagogue’s—his language of division, his cult of personality, his manner of categorizing and maligning people with a broad brush,” said Jennifer Mercieca, an expert in American political discourse at Texas A&M University. “If you’re an illegal immigrant, you’re a loser. If you’re captured in war, like John McCain, you’re a loser. If you have a disability, you’re a loser. It’s rhetoric like Wallace’s—it’s not a kind or generous rhetoric.
“Cult of personality” immediately makes us think of Stalin or North Korea’s Kim dynasty. But that damning phrase could easily be applied to President Obama. Obama is also considered divisive, cold and mean-spirited towards those who cross him. Replace the word “loser”—which the writers use repeatedly—with “victim” and change the title of the article, and you have a paragraph that could have easily be about this president.
Journalists on the right are usually the only ones who dare write about Obama this way. Left-leaning media types seem hesitant to call him out for the things he says and stands for.
They have no problem “telling it like it is” when it comes from the mouth of Donald Trump:
While many candidates appeal to the passions and patriotism of their crowds, Mr. Trump appears unrivaled in his ability to forge bonds with a sizable segment of Americans over anxieties about a changing nation, economic insecurities, ferocious enemies and emboldened minorities (like the first black president, whose heritage and intelligence he has all but encouraged supporters to malign).
Obama hardly appeals to the patriotism of his crowds, but he certainly appeals to their anger and disenchantment when it comes to blaming Republicans and conservatives for the ills of our society.
When playing on the fears and anxieties of liberals, few are as gifted and crafty as orators and agitators as the president. But he was a professional community agitator in his earlier years, and agitate is what he does best.
The writers malign Trump by comparing him with men considered fringe politicians in their time: Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Pat Buchanan and Huey Long, who was assassinated in 1935.
Their goal is obvious: to marginalize Trump via guilt by association.
Journalists have more than a right to analyze candidates; they have a duty. But will they go after Hillary Clinton this way? Will they scrutinize her words and her past and expose every corner and crevice of her life?
They neglected to do this when vetting Barack Obama eight years ago. Now they’e circling the wagons around Hillary, as they did for Obama. They focus on Republican attacks on Hillary, ensuring that when Republicans say anything negative about her, the story is those “mean-spirited” Republicans, not Hillary.
It was once a rule of journalism that authentic and creditable journalists had to leave behind their personal biases. They had to be consistent and follow the facts wherever they led, regardless of the person or party that might be harmed.
The Founding Fathers intended for a free press to be the watchdog of government on behalf of the people. Today, journalists have become more like guard dogs and lap dogs of the major political parties.
No wonder traditional newspaper companies across the country are failing.
The free press has failed the people it was entrusted by the framers to protect. It has turned on critics of government, who now are often Republican candidates and conservatives in general.
With the help of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who pushed a rule to restrict press protections to salaried journalists, the mainstream national press has attempted to convince the courts that it alone is the bona fide representative of the free press.
The ultimate goal: Destroy conservative and independent bloggers. So far it has failed.
The Free Speech and Free Press Clauses of the First Amendment do not distinguish between corporate media and bloggers, between professional journalists and amateurs. So far, the courts have ruled that the freedom of the press applies to everyone who disseminates information, not just media giants who can afford to pay salaries.
The record of case law to date is clear:
- In Branzburg v. Hayes (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court described freedom of the press as “a fundamental personal right” that is not confined to newspapers and periodicals
- In Lovell v. City of Griffin (1938), the chief justice of the Supreme Court delivered an opinion defining “press” as “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion”
- First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti (1978) rejected the “suggestion that communication by corporate members of the institutional press is entitled to greater constitutional protection than the same communication by” non-institutional press businesses
- In Bartnicki v. Vopper (2001), the court could “draw no distinction between the media respondents and” a non-institutional respondent
In 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a blogger is entitled to the same speech protection as a paid journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless the blogger acted negligently.
Not only our government, but also the press, will go to great lengths to consolidate their power and influence. They will even ignore the U.S. Constitution in order to exert control over that which they perceive as their rightful domain.
When the establishment and the press band together to decide who the party nominees and next president will be, they attempt to silence the voice of the people. They subvert our democracy itself.
In time, they will come after “we the people.” 2016 will be a rough ride.Click here for reuse options!
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