Editorials on Free Press

Today hundreds of newspapers carried articles defending the free press and criticizing Trump’s characterization of the press as “fake news.” The New York Times ran its own editorial and excerpts from others around the country.  In quotes from Thomas Jefferson, the Times laid out the tension between politicians and the press.  Jefferson loved the press while out of office, and distrusted it while in office.

I agree that we need a free press and that the press should be free to say pretty much whatever it wants.  However, I think that in news reporting the press should stick to the facts and not editorialize, although it is free to editorialize on its editorial page.  I think that recently the press has lost this distinction between opinion and fact.  If Trump says more people attended his inauguration than any other, they should correct him.  However, they should be more careful about not convicting him of treason before he is found guilty.  They regularly reserve judgment for ordinary cases, referring to a murderer found standing over his victim as the “alleged” murderer.  Trump has not been convicted by Mueller, but you would think he has been.

The New York Times, for example, has ceased to be the old “Gray Lady” with “all the news that’s fit to print.”  It has become more of a tabloid carrying sensational stories about the Trump administration.  If there is something scandalous or some evidence of stupidity, they print it over and over.   Reprinting year-old news is almost like editorializing.

The cable TV networks are worse — CNN and MSNBC on the Democratic side and Fox on the Republican side.  The PBS News Hour is joining the Democratic side.

There is no doubt that Trump has justification for criticizing the media, whether he calls it “fake news” or something else.  I am inclined to call it racist news because of the predominance of Jews attacking Trump in the pro-Democratic media.  The NYT’s op-ed page is almost entirely Jewish, although I think David Brooks is an excellent columnist.  I can’s say the same for most of the others.

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