[Note : The Boston Globe has convinced most major newspapers in the U.S. to write op-eds concerning Trumps “war on the press” this Thursday, August 16, 2018. This would be my contribution to that effort.]
The founding fathers, I believe, considered the free press so essential to the survival of the Republic they considered it almost a fourth branch of government; a "fourth estate" if you will. It is no accident that freedom of speech is protected in the Bill of Rights and equally no accident it is one of the first unalienable rights to be protected. It's THAT important.
Protections in place, all was well; but who would ever have thought that the press would choose to abandon its esteemed place and responsibility? Decades ago, the watchdog of politics and society voluntarily shacked itself into service to ideology.
The bias has bubbled and simmered under the surface all those years, denied by the practitioners, and obvious only to the most observant. But with the election of Donald J Trump, the explosion of unhinged prejudice for some and favoritism towards others emerged for all to see; all but the most ardently partisan and unhinged themselves.
Given the state of the “free press”, it is not anti-First-Amendment nor even anti-press to point out the obvious. In fact, it is more like pointing out the emperor has no clothes. Something a few of us have been doing for a long, long time.
Trump is wrong to be so thin-skinned concerning every criticism. Trump is right to point out that the current level of press fed "criticism" and bias are beyond the pale and something while present in the past has never reached this level of animus. Meanwhile, the press is wrong to expect not to be criticized itself; in fact, such criticism is long overdue. It would even do the press some good to engage in a little self-reflection; but given its current state isn’t likely.
This criticism of the press is NOT a call for violence; any more than the press’s criticism of Trump, his staff, or conservatives in general is such a call. In fact, both sides should realize violent actions are a stain and set-back to their cause; and should repeatedly declare such behavior contrary to everything they believe and espouse; BOTH sides. As for mine, I declare, in fact, the best defense against what the press has become is truth; revealing it, repeating it, reveling in it. As for your side, the press would do well to better illuminate the very real, despicable, and increasing violence directed at Trump’s staff and conservatives.
Here is one such truth needing revealing and repeating. If one considers the people and the Republic to be synonymous (and I do), then the press (in the state we find it today) is indeed an "enemy of the people". This has never been more true than now; being more dangerous and subversive to our Republic than any current adversary or threat, foreign or domestic, real or trumped up.
Me? I pray for a freer press. Free from the shackles she has chosen; hysterically ranting in one breath, condescendingly righteous in another, and blindly protective in the next. In these times, the people, the Republic, needs a free press more than ever. But she is long gone, and likely never to return to us.