The Gayly decries Trump’s attack on the free press

POTUS calls media sources "fake news" in a press briefing. File photo.

Gayly Editorial Staff

This June, President Donald Trump reached new lows by saying to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people – the fake news. Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

We expect statements like that from a dictator, not from the President of the United States.

Because the cornerstone of our free society is a free press, we object to Trump’s attempts to delegitimize the media. The Gayly will continue to report on the failures of this president and criticize his actions because those actions endanger our democracy.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) less than a month after he took office, he used those epithets and more, referring to members of the media as “very dishonest people” and alleging that the media makes up sources criticizing him since he believes there are none.

The Gayly denounces any political figure who disrespects, degrades and diminishes media sources or citizens for simply disagreeing with that public figure.

In the CPAC speech, Trump denied that he included all media in the “fake news” category. But in other speeches and tweets, he has called CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many others, “fake news.”

Apparently, the “fake news” only includes media and writers that report on the appalling things he says and does, who disagree with him or who criticize him.

This president wants Americans to believe that he is the source of all facts about what is going on. He despises the mainstream media because they are telling us what is happening in our country. Trump hates it when he isn’t in control of the narrative, and so he has called the media “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.”  

But probably no one understands “fake news” better than Donald J. Trump. He has been a primary source of outrageous fake news – let’s call them what they are: lies – since long before he became a candidate for president. A few examples include:

  • In March 2011 Trump began questioning President Barack Obama’s American citizenship and religion. He had a complete lack of any substantive proof; Hawaii state records were showing Obama was born in Honolulu. Nevertheless, Trump continued this campaign for years.
  • In July 2012, he tweeted, “The underemployment being quoted as 14.9% is way low–real number could be 20%.” He had a long history of questioning government employment figures right up until he was inaugurated. At that point, with employment rising and unemployment falling, he started touting the numbers as “proof” of his success as president.’

The list could go on and on. But Trump’s purpose in his lies over decades and his current practice of demeaning the media is clear. He wants to continue his pattern of lies and deceit. The “fake” moniker is all a part of his unacceptable lying.

The Gayly editors object to those lies and will continue to shine the light of truth on them.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Trump hates that. If he could, he would exclude the press from his speeches and events; he would take away the press credentials of reporters who disagree with him or write negative things about him; and he would, no doubt, lock reporters up if he thought he could. He actually mused in a speech about how great that would be!

The Gayly believes the views of this president are a danger to our freedom, most of the media know that, and we will continue to fight his actions. Without a free press, this president could continue on his path toward authoritarianism without any of us being the wiser. He could continue to lie without a free press.

During the election campaign his GOP opponents at the time, like Senators Cruz and Rubio, lashed out at his lies. But since his election, there has been almost no Republican effort to protest his lies or his attack on the media.

The deafening silence from the party makes it and its leaders complicit in Trump’s attacks on the press. This silence is unacceptable in our free society. We all should hold Trump and the GOP in contempt as long as they continue these attacks. To do less would abandon our responsibility to protect our freedoms.

A free press is the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy. The Gayly editorial staff calls on President Trump to cease his attacks on the media, and we call on the GOP to join us in this endeavor.

Copyright The Gayly 8/16/2018 @ 10:00 a.m. CST.