(Fred Weinberg) – One of the things about the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is that while it guarantees freedom of the press, it does NOT protect the press from criticism since it ALSO guarantees freedom of speech.
So President Trump is perfectly within his right to call the press—and by extension what we call the mainstream media today—“fake news”, “failing” and any other epithet he chooses. Including the enemy of the people or the opposition party.
And, if he wants to use Twitter to do it in less than 140 characters at a time, then he’s also helping an American company stay in business and create jobs in keeping with his campaign promises. (Twitter had lost a collective $2-billion in 10 years as of last year.)
Further, if the snowflakes who work in the mainstream media are offended, here’s an idea: stop acting like an opposition party, whining, moaning and bitching, and just do your damn jobs.
Donald Trump may well be the first President in the history of the United States who the mainstream media—and the rest of the opposition—is mad at NOT because he isn’t keeping his campaign promises, but because he IS! He was elected by a huge majority in Middle America who have no trust in the media and the media will not change those red state minds by being offended. Middle America could care less.
If Trump wants to posit that people who distribute fake news are an enemy of the American people, he is well within his right to say so—as long as he doesn’t try to use the long arm of the government to shut them down. No less than his eminence Chris Wallace says that crosses some line. And what line, Mr. Wallace, is that? Perhaps the same red line Barack Obama said Syria had crossed. Wallace should remember that the company which pays him a reported million dollars a year for his Sunday morning bloviating became successful enough to do that by doing exactly what Trump is doing. Is he concerned that Trump is pre-empting Fox News?
There are a few things that I have learned in my career.
One is that when someone in business tells you that it’s not about the money, it’s always about the money.
Two is that when someone in the media tells you that a free and unobstructed press is the bedrock upon which our democracy is built what they really mean is that is true as long as that media is reporting what they, personally, think to be true. And they’ll usually be willing to trade free and unobstructed for reporting what they believe in.
Three is that when someone in the media starts telling you what the President—any President—“has” to do, you should look closely at that person’s bona fides.
How many times in the last year and a half has Fox News, CNN and MSNBC had one of those point-counterpoint segments where two talking (or screeching) heads debate a point and seen persons identified as “Republican Strategist” and “Democrat Strategist” as the two panelists?
And how many times has either of those two talked about what the President “has” to do?
Now there are some “strategists” who may actually know something.
And there are certainly some folks who are not campaign managers looking for free publicity to insure their next gig who also may know something. Take Dana Perino on Fox. She used to be the Press Secretary to President Bush43. She might have some insight. But Juan Williams? Other than getting fired from NPR, what has he ever done which gives him special insight?
Bob Beckel has actually run a major party Presidential campaign—and lost. Mike Huckabee was the Governor of Arkansas and ran for President. Dick Cheney was the Vice President of the United States. John Bolton was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. That is experience which they can fall back on.
But Fox, CNN and MSNBC can’t get the first string every day. So they bring in folks whose only experience is running a campaign for Congress or City Council to talk about national security. Or someone who gets paid to write in the Washington Post.
The thing a viewer has to do is to both understand the bias of a panelist and view what they say in light of that as well as not living in an echo chamber created by only watching and reading news sources you agree with. Beckel, as an example, is a Democrat. Huckabee is a GOP AND Trump supporter. Bolton is a national security hawk and a Republican. The Wall Street Journal is more right than left. CBS leans left, Fox sort of leans right. Even though Politico’s reporting of fake news may turn your stomach, their iPad app is free and you should read it so you can get an average baseline. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and even a blind hog can find an acorn.
Journalism is protected by the First Amendment from being censored or shut down by the government.
But journalists are NOT protected FROM the First Amendment.
And if Donald Trump is not afraid to look them in the eye and tell them what a bunch of biased jerks they are, the First Amendment gives him the unalienable right to do so. The Bill of Rights makes it a matter of law. The Declaration of Independence says we have an unalienable right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness.
In this case, Trump has a constitutionally legal freedom of speech. But maybe the pursuit of happiness best describes what he is doing.
His happiness AND ours. Go get’em, big guy.
Mr. Weinberg is publisher of the Penny Press. Get to know more about him by visiting www.PennyPressNV.com.