The press is still free

Last Thursday’s POTUS press conference is still ringing in the media’s ears. President Trump was highly critical of the #fakenews media and called them on their lies and fabrications. He even elevated the #fakenews moniker to #veryfakenews. The media were apoplectic, and decided to fight back with the hashtag #NotTheEnemy in response to Trump calling them the enemy of the American people (which they are, by the way).

Now you have the mainstream press genuinely concerned about media censorship, that what he is doing somehow violates the Constitutional guarantee of a free press. He has the media tied in knots. I find this quite satisfying, comical even.

To clarify something, the First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

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.

Note that the First Amendment pertains to the Congress. It enumerates the various rights that shall not be curtailed by Congress, one of which is the freedom of the press.

The Constitution does NOT say that a President cannot criticize the media. President Obama was critical of FoxNews and Rush Limbaugh, and there was nothing unconstitional about that, either. The media have somehow, in their minds, equated criticism with censorship. But there is nothing in the Constitution that grants the media immunity from criticism, presidential or otherwise.

If you’ve turned on the TV today or checked the Internet, you’ll see that all those media outlet that were broadcasting their #fakenews during the Obama presidency are still broadcasting their #fakenews. No one has censored them. No one is trying to censor them. Criticizing the media or refusing to answer their questions is not censorship.

We have never had a president (with the possible exception of Reagan) during our lifetimes who took on the media the way Trump does. The media are used to generating their #fakenews without any sort of repercussions. But now they are finding their #fakenews stories ricochet back at them.

What we are learning is that the media cannot take one-tenth of the criticism they dish out. They would whither and evaporate if they were subject to the same level of vitriol with which they treat conservatives. That’s why watching Trump toy with them like playthings is so delicious.

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