“The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”
Protected for centuries, free press was a vital right to the American people and contributed immensely to democracy in the United States. Part of democracy is being able to have a voice in how our country is governed, making it one of the most important outlets the people have to express our opinions is the free press.
Previous President of the United States Barack Obama gives his two cents on how free press empowers the people: “[Free press] gives voice to the voiceless, it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable.”
Since the beginning of the country, Americans have preserved the right to express and publish thoughts, both pro and anti, on governing opinion. Many people, including Hugh Grant, view free press as the “cornerstone of democracy” but unfortunately, times seem to be changing.
The Boston Globe has called out to all news or journalism outlets, large and small, to fight against the recent negative views of the media on free press.
From the beginning of this issue, President Donald Trump has strongly expressed his opinion about our right to free press equaling nothing but “fake news” being spread across the country.
In one of Trump’s tweets from Aug. 16, he writes, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”
He is making news outlets the villains, while degrading our right to free press. His claims directly target and threaten the first amendment of the Constitution.
As outlined in the first amendment, U.S. citizens were given the right to freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to petition. Now, however, Trump seems to not only be taking a negative view on these rights, but downright attacking them.
On the same day, Trump tweets, “Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT.”
He stirred things up with, yet again, a new tweet. This last tweet – “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. … but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!” — does not fail to accuse the press of “hurt[ing] people” through the diffusion of false information.
However, it is apparent that those claims are false and jeopardizing our rights. The government has the power to get rid of and make new laws, and it is assumed President Trump has the idea of amending the first amendment based off of his opinions. This in turn would get rid of the right to free press completely.
With the free press act still in effect and President Trump obviously against it, The Boston Globe has released polls with their publication to all journalists to encourage the public to become involved and informed on the topic. And, based on the information from the polls, it seems that Trump isn’t the only one against free press.
The public opinion is also very divided with many strongly expressing on August 15, 2018 that “the news media is the enemy of the American people.”
According to the polls, 51% of Republicans thought of the press as “the enemy of the people rather than an important part of democracy.” To add on to that, an Ipsos poll conducted from Aug. 3-6, 2018 found that an alarming 53% of the total people who voted advocated for the president having the “authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” This is implying that more than half the people on this poll want to take away the rights to free press and leave it to the president to control.
Meanwhile, Trump continuously resorts to calling every news outlet involved “fake news.” However it’s not up to him to censor news outlets’ rights to express their opinion.
These polls have shown that the public does not view free press as a necessary human right.The Boston Globe is doing their best to change the atmosphere surrounding the media… and it’s working.
As stated above, The Boston Globe has gathered over 300 newspapers to rally with them, and it seems President Trump is agitated over the strength of the opinions of the people.
War journalists didn’t risk their lives trying to deliver news to the people for them to be called “fake news.”
Let’s look at the facts here: Trump’s one reason for wanting to take away our right to freedom of the press is that it is fake.
Now, this sentence seems a bit strange. In other words, he wants to take away our rights because he claims that free press is spreading false information. However, not only were we guaranteed the right to write whatever we want, we also have the right to NOT READ IT.
It is our own decision to decide whether to believe it or not, but based on the fact that Trump has no evidence backing up his claim that it’s false facts, let’s face it: The majority of the news is probably true.
In fact, a website called PolitiFact describes the truth rate among different news channels with a voting system for each claim made. They estimate that Fox and Fox News have made 39% of their claims as half true or higher, MSNBC and NBC have made 55% of their claims as half true or higher, and CNN has made 80% of their claims half true or higher. The lowest truth rate on that list was Fox News, who is actually registered as an entertainment channel. Generally, that fact makes it less reliable and therefore less trustworthy, especially since they are a Trump-supported news source.
And, as much as we have the right to write about real events, a bump in the road going along with this is that we also have the right to say untrue things. But let’s be honest here;it’s only been a problem recently, and news outlets have been known to be pretty truthful and good at delivering news.
War journalists have risked their lives for the people’s knowledge and for the sake of informing them. That’s how important it is for us to be able to have access to information. That’s how we become more involved with the government and with OUR country. Free press promotes unification and helps us to be more involved with our country’s politics. Many people don’t vote because they feel like the government is a stranger. It’s almost like it’s not even their country because of how they isolate themselves from politics. Additionally, not only does free press make people more involved, it unites people by keeping a check on the government. Nowadays, everything occurring in the government is hidden from the public, and the people need to be informed. Having a right to free press is helping the American people not only get updated on events, but also have an outlet where information on huge political events can be reached. If not for our right to free press, everything with the government would be behind closed doors, and we would have no idea what wars are happening where, or even what a critic thinks of a new restaurant.
Many families coming from a communist country, including some of our own, have had to hold their feelings back on almost everything. People are arrested and tortured for going against government opinions.
But our country was not built that way. Our country is supposed to be a free country where we can express our opinion as a people and not have that taken away from us. We deserve to have an opposing opinion to our president and not be attacked for it. Giving out false information is “fake news,” but voicing our opinions is neither true nor false. The president is not allowed to decide which it is; the writers and journalists are.
The movement continues to spread positivity on free press and carries on to fight for our rights because just as Justice Hugo Black said, “The press [is] to serve the governed, not the governors.”