The Press and President Donald J. Trump

The Press and President Donald J. Trump

February 16, 2017

President Donald J. Trump held a press conference today, during which he concentrated on "the dishonest press" and its treatment of him and others in his administration.

He said repeatedly that he was very knowledgeable about press coverage, but did not mention that it is something he has sought throughout most of his life—and it didn’t seem to matter if the press was good or bad until he became president of the United States.

"Much of the media in Washington, D.C.," he said, "along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system."

For some reason, he kept referring to Hillary Clinton throughout the press conference as if he was still in campaign mode, and he complained that he had "inherited a mess" from the Obama Administration. He blamed the former president for everything that has gone wrong in his administration – and then he said his administration was running like a “fine-tuned” machine.

The following day he continued his attack on the press when he tweeted that news organizations such as the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN are not his enemy, but "the enemy of the American People." Where have we heard that kind of phrase before?

There are two critical things every American should remember. When you are asked to believe what your own eyes tell you is not so – and you believe it – you are heading down a long and very dark period in history.

Secondly, if you believe Trump’s constant claim that the press is dishonest and is not to be believed, you are in the first phase of giving up one of the things that makes America great, a critical factor in a free society and one of the most precious articles in the Constitution – a free press.

A lesson from history we should never forget comes from Josef Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda in Hitler's Germany, who said “when you tell a lie a thousand times it becomes the truth.” One of the first casualties in that dark period of German history was a free press.

I have not counted how many times candidate and now President Donald J. Trump has accused the press of lying or making “false statements,” but it seems to me we are getting very close to 1,000 times.

Beau Weisman, Editor