The news media has been under constant and continuous blistering attack by President Trump, who simply can't stand it when reporters call him out for his constant lies and exaggerations. It's as though the President has no regard for the First Amendment of the Constitution, which expressly protects the work of the men and women who diligently report the news.
In fact, notes Greta Van Susteren, anchor of Voice of America’s “Plugged In With Greta Van Susteren", freedom of the press is so vital to American society that it is the only occupation expressly safeguarded by name in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
"Without a free press," Van Susteren writes, "all our other freedoms are endangered. It is our best defense against tyranny." That comment prompted me to design the shirt shown at left, which now is available in the Not Fake News online store.
Van Susteren cautions that the Constitution's protection brings with it "a deep responsibility to scrutinize those in power and to report fully and fairly. But to fulfill that responsibility, news organizations must also insist on maintaining the highest standards of credibility."
While that is always true, it is critical in today's hyper-critical environment. As Trump denigrates the news media as "Fake News" at every opportunity and whenever any excuse for his own behavior is needed, his blindly loyal supporters share that same distrust of anything that is reported -- except by the pseudo-state network, Fox News, or other right-wing outlets.
Unfortunately, there are occasions when some journalists pick on every tiny development to attack Trump and his supporters. Such stories only strengthen Trump's view that the news media is biased against him and, thus, it can't be trusted.
Perhaps I am old-school, but i do not believe network reporters should send out tweets, as some do, that clearly show a bias against Trump. These "journalists" need to demonstrate neutrality in their coverage. Yes, like the rest of us, they have personal political views. But they must be held in check except in commentary clearly marked as such.
The mission of the news media must be to report the facts as accurately as possible and to bring to their work the context that comes from solid reporting, experience and research. When this is done, the subject or subjects of that coverage will have no legitimate complaint about bias or unfairness.
The First Amendment's Freedom of the Press protections, meanwhile, must be sacrosanct, notwithstanding Trump's complaints. In my opinion, the real Fake News today items from the lies continually spun by Trump and those who line up to salute.