Opinion

Trump's attacks on press threaten first amendment rights

The press has every right to criticize President Trump.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

President Trump swore to protect the Constitution when he was inaugurated. Now, he’s speaking out against the First Amendment right of freedom of the press, a fundamental part of our democratic system and an indispensable aspect of our society. “It’s disgusting the way the press can say whatever they want,” President Trump stated. No, Mr. President. What’s disgusting is your dismissal of one of the most important elements of the Constitution.

Basically, when it comes to imperfect interactions with the press, our president finds security in acting like a two year old, throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants and pointing his finger at rightfully frustrated people, yelling incoherent and senseless phrases and revealing an evidently limited vocabulary.

He attempts to discredit media critical of his actions through other forms of media, tweeting away without thought. He alludes to the idea that the press should be strictly regulated by government, a clearly anti-egalitarian concept. But people are completely within the law when they criticize the president through media. Frankly, with the views he has been expressing regarding the First Amendment, people should criticize him.

Trump and his supporters have been proposing an authoritarian regulation of the press in response to the media’s various denouncing of his adminstration. Trump claims that he is the most poorly treated president in the history of the United States.

However, such a claim is simply ridiculous. Sure, he is frequently called names and imitated on SNL, but other presidents have seen much worse and did not dare suggest the removal of the First Amendment right to freedom of the press.

People strung up dummies resembling Obama to depict lynching. There were baseless rumors going around that he was born in Kenya. But, unlike our current president, Obama always supported the right of others to criticize him.

It is as if Trump is stalking mainstream media, waiting for them to criticize him so he can respond with a childish tweet. Other presidents rarely paid any attention to their media critics and properly chose to remain focused on their agendas.

The fact that Trump takes personal offense to every critical analysis of his time in office shows how fragile he is as a person and how unfit he is to hold the highest possible office in American government. He pays more attention to less-than-flattering stories about him than his responsibilities as president, taking a great toll on the general functionality of his administration.

Though no one likes to be criticized, freedom of the press is an essential part of our democratic society. Limiting the press’ ability to express views on the Trump Administration would be a step toward autocracy. Such censorship of media would lead to a dangerously uneducated population living in fear.

North Korea is an appropriate example of this. There is a reason why America has freedom of the press and there is a reason why North Korea does not. A lack of freedom of the press leads to intense inhibition of citizens. The removal of independent media would leave the people without a voice.

As Americans, we should not be prevented from hearing views opposing elected officials. Our government should not have the ability to control the opinions of the public.

In suggesting that the press shouldn’t be able to criticize him, Trump is betraying the very foundation of the nation of which he is president. This country was built on the idea of liberation and the repression of the press is an act against American values.

Ashley is a freshman intending on majoring in journalism. What are your thoughts on President Trump’s relationship to and comments on the press? Please send  any and all questions and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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