Editor, Manteca Bulletin:,
Writers bemoaning Trump’s “chilling the freedom of the press” need to read their Constitution more carefully. The Constitutional prohibition is simple: “…Congress shall make no law …. abridging the freedom … of the press… .” It is absurd to equate Trump’s confronting “fake news” with “Congress making law.” There are three branches of government; Trump is not Congress.
Trump’s exploits his public persona to the fullest. It is entertaining to watch him purposefully spike his ratings using a combative style in press interactions.
Compared to Trump, other presidents have used far more egregious tactics to battle the press. In 2013, President Obama employed “extreme methods,” subpoenaed Associated Press phone records, and named Fox News reporter, James Rosen, a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917. Prosecutions continue. In 1864, President Lincoln wrote an executive order entitled “Arrest and Imprisonment of Irresponsible Newspaper Reporters and Editor” and commanded Maj-General Dix to imprison those that wrote unfavorable articles. And in 1798, founding father John Adams, as president, signed the “Sedition Act” criminalizing making false statements that were critical of the federal government.
The press, as an institution, must be unbiased. They should stop fantasizing about re-living the glory days of Woodward and Bernstein toppling the Nixon presidency and just get back to an unbiased “just the facts ma’am.” Bravo for Trump that he has taken one small step holding the Press’ feet to the fire to become the intention-less and objective reporters of fact that they should be.