Fake News Accusation Dishonors Fallen Journalists

Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together.

                                                                  Joseph Pulitzer

For the president to label organizations such as the New York Times, BBC, NBC News, Washington Post and CNN as “fake news” is dishonorable to the memories of fallen reporters.

 

What was fake about Atlantic Monthly-at-large reporter Michael Kelly, a Washington Post columnist who covered the first Gulf War with distinction, and was killed in a Humvee accident outside Baghdad while traveling with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during the second Iraq War?

 

What was fake about the work David Bloom did as a journalist with NBC? Bloom was known by his colleagues as a modern-day Ernie Pyle. At the age of 39, he was also a father and husband, a tireless and resourceful reporter whose battlefield correspondence gave millions a soldier’s perspective of war.

What was fake about the work of BBC camerman Kaveh Golestan? He died instantly on a mine as he climbed out of his car in the town of Kifrey. In that same attack producer Stuart Hughes, 31, was injured in the foot by the explosion.

What was fake about the time in Erbil, Iraq- when a helicopter carrying aid from Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous government to stranded Yazidis in the Sinjar mountains of northern Iraq crashed, killing the pilot and injuring other passengers, including a Yazidi member of Parliament and a New York Times journalist?

What was fake about the death of Anthony Shadid, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting from Iraq, but died while reporting in eastern Syria, apparently of an asthma attack?

Every day journalists assume tremendous risks to report the story. They sacrifice everything they hold dear for the story. They are willing to give up their families. They are willing to give up their limbs. They are willing to give up everything because they made a promise to seek the truth.

For Trump to needlessly mock and discredit the contributions of these brave reporters and their esteemed news organizations is beneath the office of President of the United States.

Furthermore, our founders knew perfectly well that journalists are often the first line of defense against tyranny. In the Constitution they sought to protect the freedom of press as one of the highest priorities of the young republic. They wrote:

The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honorable and just modes of conducting affairs.

These are the invaluable rights that form a considerable part of our mild system of government; that, sending its equitable energy through all ranks and classes of men, defends the poor from the rich, the weak from the powerful, the industrious from the rapacious, the peaceable from the violent, the tenants from the lords, and all from their superiors.

Does this sound like the language Trump uses when he speaks about the press? Why not?

 

 

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Photo by George Cassidy Payne

 

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