American’s need to fight for the press


Photo credit: Jessica Johnson

President Donald Trump held a White House press briefing Feb. 16 but chose to excluded The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, Buzzfeed, the BBC and the Guardian.

All of these news corporations have viciously attacked Trump throughout his presidential campaign and his presidency. Trump called these relentless attacks unfair, and I agree with him.

I’m not saying that quality of reporting by these news outlets is entirely false, or how Trump would call it “fake news,” but the amount of criticism Trump has gotten compared to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is wildly unfair.

The only time Hillary Clinton received negative attention from any of these news sources at a similar level to Trump was when she was running against Bernie Sanders.

This still doesn’t justify the fact that Trump is stomping on the freedom of the press when he doesn’t allow these corporations in these press briefings.

I’m not surprised by the right-wing parties to cheer Trump on in his decision. The right campaigned endlessly to defend the 1st amendment rights of Milo Yiannopoulos, but are nowhere to be seen on this is issue.

The Obama administration made a “deliberate effort to exclude Fox News from a press pool” in 2009, according to The Daily Beast which spurred outrage because it infringed upon the freedom of press.

The republican party spoke about this instance in direct relation to Obama acting like a dictator but have not given a statement about Trump doing the same thing to a larger degree.

Hypocrisy is rampant on both sides of the political spectrum. But lately left-wingers have been the ones called out on it. The riots such as the one that took place at UC Berkeley were unjustified instances of devaluing free speech, but shooting down the press is not the patriotic act that the Republican party is making it look like.

Right wingers love to proclaim themselves as champions of the first amendment, but in reality they are only interested in themselves. There is no partial following of the first amendment which means that barring news organizations from a press conference is not OK.

I believe that the right are slowly winning back the culture wars. This election proved that, but this isn’t the kind of behavior we have to tolerate. Criticizing your own party is necessary to snuff out the clear attacks on the American people. No one wins when the press begins to die out, it just means we are forced to believe in the government doing the “right thing.”

Politics is poisonous and a future of rationality seems very bleak. This is a time where we need journalists and to actually listen. If we continue allowing the President to diminish the small voice of the people, eventually we will end up living in the tyranny our founding fathers were trying to escape.

Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @rjfonseca on Twitter.