Press access and the CNN confrontation

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“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
– First Amendment, United States Constitution

The Founders of our country did not care one whit about your desire to spout off about Hollywood celebrety, your need to tell-off the guy down the street, or your late night prono binges. They weren’t that petty.

Your ability to exercise your freedom of speech in this way is a happy (for you) by-product of the First Amendment.

Our press is the 4th check on our government. The Freedom of Speech was established to ensure government officials are accountable for their actions.

When officials use their power to interfere with free access to information (including equal ability to ask questions), attempt to undermine the press, or create access for only the friendly press, they erode the very intent of the first amendment.

You may not like MSN, Fox, or CNN or other news outlets. You may not like the facts they uncover, report or fail to report, but not liking a fact does not make the fact a lie. Inconvenient perhaps, but not a lie.

For Donald Trump to single out CNN, calling them a “Fake News” organization, a false statement by any journalistic standard, is an attempt to undermine free press. Trump knows what he is doing.

Donald Trump seeks to portray those who report unfavorable news, or in this case (the 2 page memo that was included in his security briefing) the truth which is neutral but for his insecurities, while creating access for a cadre of people willing to play his game.

In the early days of the Obama administration there were attempts to lock out Fox news, which created backlash. The administration backed down.

The concern with Donald Trump is that he is not one to back down even when he is wrong. The press must support each other’s access to the president and the American people must not let shared ideology with the President-elect take precedence over the freedom of the press.

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