The press is not the enemy of the people

Martha Sanchez, RubicOnline Editor

Two weeks ago, pipe bombs were sent to 14 people and organizations including the Clintons, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, all of whom have questioned or criticized President Trump. One of the organizations targeted was CNN, a news association that Trump has publicly attacked in tweets and during his rallies. In a tweet following the incidences, Trump blamed the “hostility” of the media for the bombs.

“The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our country. Actually, it is their fake and dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand,” he said. Those were familiar words from President Trump, reiterating his repeated belief that the press is the “enemy of the people”. These words are dangerous and threaten the democracy we hold in the United States.

In a world in which the phrase “enemy of the people” is so repeated, it’s easy to forget that the United States was founded on the principle of free press. The value of free press is written in the First Amendment and should be echoed throughout our democracy. Trump’s repeated attacks on the media as “fake” and “dishonest” may not completely destroy the press as a whole, but they significantly discredit the truth that newspaper organizations across the country seek to provide citizens with every day.  

This issue isn’t just relevant to the United States. The more President Trump reinforces the idea of the media as the “enemy,” the more it emboldens other world leaders to do the same. Because the First Amendment doesn’t exist for all countries, many journalists abroad face the risk of being jailed or even killed due tensions with the press. 

The more President Trump reinforces the idea of the media as the “enemy,” the more it emboldens other world leaders to do the same.”

Last month, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist working for the Washington Post and writing columns critical of Saudi Arabian policies was brutally murdered, apparently at the hands of associates of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. His death shocked the media, exposing the chilling fact that the truth journalists seek could put them in danger.

That tragedy should never happen in the United States, and it won’t if — like other presidents — Trump begins to respect the free press.  If he continues to attack the press as the enemy, threats on the First Amendment and our democracy will only increase.