Letter: Protect free press

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2018

Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper, hear on the radio, or see on TV? I don’t. However, a free press, where different viewpoints are voiced no matter how uncomfortable they may make us, is a cornerstone of democracy guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Founding Fathers saw a free press as not only a means of informing us about governmental activities, but also as one of the key mechanisms for governmental accountability in the system of checks and balances they created.

Any true conservative and anyone who loves our democracy should be concerned, if not outraged, by the president’s statement that access by the press should be limited only to those who forward the administration’s viewpoint and flatter him.

Review the rise of the Nazis in Germany, fascists in Italy, and communists in Russia, Asia and elsewhere, and you will find that muzzling the press was one of the first steps in establishing a nondemocratic form of government. Those populations, when warned that muzzling the press was a precursor to dictatorships, said, “It can’t happen here.”

For the president of the United States, the world’s boldest democratic experiment and longest successful republic, to threaten limiting press access to only those who parrot or support his positions, is symptomatic of egocentric sociopathy. If attacks on the free press continue successfully, other aspects of the First Amendment, such as freedom of speech by individuals, may be next.

While doubters are saying it can’t happen here, think back to the fate of other countries where they also said it couldn’t happen.

For those who say it was “just a tweet,” do you think it is appropriate for the leader of the free world to threaten basic freedoms, even in such forum?

Remember, the president says he means his tweets.

— Richard Sorenson