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Category Archives: Freedom of the Press
Last night, we in Philly heard that hundreds of headstones were turned over Saturday night at a Jewish cemetery, a week after similar vandalism in St. Louis. Many people are saddened, appalled and surprised. They should be sad and appalled, but not surprised. This is Trump’s America.
I have been working with Indivisible locally, and I am heartened by the number of people completely new to politics who are suddenly aware, and ready to take action to both resist the Trump agenda, and help elect people who will serve America, and not what is actually the Bannon administration.
I keep hearing two themes through my work with Indivisible. First, people are concerned about what they can do to stop hate. And by “hate” I mean not just the vandalism, but the verbal abuse people see foisted upon innocent people, just for the colour of their skin, The ICE roundups are another form of hate: people question what they can do to help those who will be caught up in the dragnets. Hate also in the form of the administration’s moves against sick people (“repeal Obamacare” and dismantle Medicaid), Hate in the form of transgender bathroom rights. I’m a doctor, and I’m telling you, the only thing that matters is that you wash your hands. (If you’re a long-term reader, you remember back to SARS and fingers, nails, fingers, fingers, fingers.) And let’s not forget the hate of literacy in terms of claiming the media is the “enemy of the people”. The hate is creeping down from the Cheeto Team, and up from the GOP state legislatures.
Last night, Sean Spicer made remarks as the Press Secretary. They were published to the Press Pool and you can read the release at the bottom of this post. Of note, Sean mentioned the brou-ha-ha about the MLK bust. An error was made by the pool press and was quickly corrected. Of larger import, Sean talked about the size of the crowds at the inaugural.
While many people are talking about the fact that it was an indefensible, factual lie, there is something more important here. That is, Sean wasn’t doing his job: he was instead pandering to his boss. The job of the Press Secretary is to report on factual things that are going on, so that the press is able to disseminate that information correctly to the American public. It is one of the most fundamental premises of the US Constitution: a free press. And the press can only be free if the government allows it to report, and the press CANNOT report on the Executive Branch if it plays a shell game with the truth. You end up with “Pravda” – the “news” source of the USSR. “Pravda” by the way, translates to “truth”, which should give you an idea of what they wanted to disseminate. In the USSR Pravda was owned and operated by the Kremlin. And there is an old Russian joke: “There’s no difference between freedom of the press in America and freedom of the press here. You can say whatever you want. The only difference is that the next day an American wakes up at home, and the Russian wakes up in the Gulag.” Already, members of the press have been dropped from the press list. We must stand up for a free press and the ability of the members of the press to have access to what actually happens, and to disseminate.
Here at DCW, we’ve taken that seriously since we began back in 2005. We source check, and the few times we’ve gotten things wrong, we’ve immediately corrected. Even though we are small, we fulfill an important role and hope you’ll support us. Want to? Please like us on Facebook, because the more likes we have, the better our reach. Also follow us on Twitter –> the blog itself link here, Oreo link here, and my link here. As an aside, people are always telling me there are no photos of me, if you click on my Twitter feed, you’ll see me hugging my favourite Founding Father.