Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

EDITORIAL: Enemy of the people?

President Trump attacks the media to avoid responsibility and accountability

Posted

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Thomas Jefferson

Our founding fathers well understood the importance of information to the survival of a republic. Without information, they recognized that there could be no accountability— and a government without accountability can quickly become antithetical to democracy.

This week, we join hundreds of other newspapers around the country in pushing back against the attempts by President Donald Trump to falsely brand the nation’s news media as “the enemy of the people,” as a means of avoiding accountability for his actions.

Journalists are human, which means they are far from perfect. They have their biases and their blind spots. Too often, they seek the sensational over the substantive. But the professional news media to which most Americans still turn for information, remains transparent and accountable, which stands in stark contrast to a president so intent on casting aspersions.

President Trump loathes the professional media for exactly the reason that Thomas Jefferson held it in high regard— it shines a light on the workings of government and its leaders. And that’s a threat to a man in the White House who has lived his entire life free from accountability.

When Harry Truman was president, he famously said, “The buck stops here.” It was a simple recognition that the president must take responsibility when things go wrong.

That, of course, is something that Donald Trump would never do. All his life, he has used those around him, even his children, as human punching bags, who exist only as fall guys or facilitators in the rationalization or cover-up of Mr. Trump’s reckless behavior. They exist to either take the blame or pay off the porn stars.

As president, Mr. Trump rails against the professional news media not because it is actually the enemy of the people, but because it is the enemy of secrecy, and it is independent of Trump’s manipulations.

It is the news media that exposes Trump’s countless deceits and the crass corruption so rampant in his administration. It is the media that regularly reminds the American people that a president riddled with potential conflicts of interest still hasn’t released his tax returns, or that he has acted to direct millions of taxpayer dollars into his own pocket in just 18 months in office.

It is the news media that revealed that the Trump administration was keeping the children of refugees in cages, that the tax cuts he continues to tout have gone overwhelmingly to the wealthiest Americans, or that he is advancing policies designed to worsen air and water quality and worsen the changing climate.

It is the news media that exposes Trump’s foreign visits for the international relations disasters that they actually represent. Trump, of course, who appears to view his presidency as just one more reality TV show, declares every foreign visit as a “stunning success,” even as the evidence says otherwise. Relations with Europe are at an all-time low, Kim Jong-un continues work on his nuclear missiles, and Vladimir Putin still retains puppet-master-like control over the American President. Trump struts around the world stage, and tells the American people, “the world is starting to respect the United States of America again.” Yet Gallup and virtually every other opinion poll continues to demonstrate that world opinion of the U.S. has collapsed under his administration.

Mr. Trump loathes the media for the same reason he continuously rails on Twitter against Special Counsel Robert Mueller— he can’t control them and what they might reveal about what he’s done.

That kind of independence doesn’t make the media the enemy. It makes the media essential.

Comments

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Scott Atwater

The very statement "this week we join hundreds of other newspapers around the country in pushing back against the attempts by President Donald Trump to falsely brand the nation’s news media as “the enemy of the people,” as a means of avoiding accountability for his actions" is an admission of a coordinated attack against president Trump. A growing number of people distrust the press, and they've only themselves to blame.

Thursday, August 16
Snowshoe2

Trump has lied officially over 4000 times since taking the President job. Look at his track record. Jeated on all three wives. Two while pregnant. Had a false University and robbed people of all the money they had.

It is time for people as Americans to stand up together or we will have no Democracy.

Yesterday over 60 Retired CIA and intelligent service whom are and were professionals who puttheir life on the line as much as any soldier said Democracy is threaten.

Republicans once a party of dignity better find their sole.

Country first,not a mad man who acts like a child and doesn't even believe in intelligent briefings.

Saturday, August 18
Scott Atwater

If one were truly worried about our democracy, they'd call out the previous administration for using the intelligence agencies as a political weapon in an effort to influence an election, turning a blind eye to Russian election tampering when their part was polling well, rigging the Democratic primaries against Sanders, and oh yes....paying foreign agencies for fake dossiers in order to obtain FISA warrants needed to spy on an opposition political party.

Trump's marital infidelities are troublesome, but he was a Democrat back then and no one cared.

Saturday, August 18
bonfire

Trump has never had a belief system. His only conscious thoughts, everything he says and does is driven by his raging, unhinged narcissism. Nobody, not even his fans will gain from supporting an toxic egotist. They are more likely to be worse off and all they get from their trump trip is their Q We Are One caps. Ultimately trump callously dumps or viciously backstabs anyone and everyone who is not benefiting trump and trump alone.

Tuesday, August 21
Lee Peterson

Just curious: Is Scott Atwater the outboard motor? I bet most people nowadays don't even know of them. A friend of mine is a devoted fan of those motors. Scott Atwaters were the first outboard motors to go to a 50 to 1 fuel to oil ratio--less smoke!

And, to be accurate, Donald Trump shows no allegiance to any party, just to himself. He is presently destroying the Republican Party and our democracy. Hang on!

Wednesday, August 22
Steve Jacobson

You guys figured out that Trump is bad in every way. He was portrayed as bad and the media did everything they could make expose how bad a guy he was and how bad he would be for our county. He is destroying the Republican Party for God's sakes! My question is - what ruined the Democratic Party because in spite of all of this Donald Trump is President of the United States!

Wednesday, August 22
bonfire

To be fair, the Republican party has been doing a bangup job of destroying itself for a long time. The craven, self-serving GOP, aiding and abetting trump, just willy nilly sprayed gas on the embers not caring how far the firestorm spreads.

Yes, hang on. Yesterday events are just the beginning of exposing the swamp rot.

Wednesday, August 22
jtormoen

The oft used deflection rears its head.

Wednesday, August 22
bonfire

Self-imposed deflection. Too afraid to believe msm, to know they put all their eggs in a basket full of holes.

After all, who you gonna believe, Washington Post, NYT, ProPublica, etc or Giuliani "Truth isn't truth" and Trump "Crimes aren't crimes"?

Wednesday, August 22
Lee Peterson

Most folks had Trump figured out 30 years ago.

Please keep in mind that Trump came up about 3,000,000 votes short of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. That's a fact.

Who do you think would win if the vote were held today?

Trump is flaming out on a grand scale. That's reality.

Thursday, August 23
bonfire

And the GOP which deserves to flame out. GOP tax "reform" will loom to $10 trillion by 2025 benefiting the top wealthy and they have been up front saying they will use that as an excuse to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other safety nets that average americans have worked hard for. Can't afford those entitlements when the entitlements for the wealthy must be funded.

Thursday, August 23
Scott Atwater

...looks like CNN and Lanny Davis were caught red handed lying this week about the Trump Tower meeting. Even that pillar of journalistic integrity, Carl Bernstein, managed to soil his reputation. You just can't make this stuff up......well, CNN just proved that you can. LOL. Enemy of the people? Until you prove otherwise, a definite yes.

Friday, August 31
jtormoen

Well, Bonfire, there is your "fair and balanced". I am convinced.

signed, John E.

Saturday, September 1
Scott Atwater

Yes, because "who" said it is far more important than "what" was said.

"I'm convinced". LoL

Sunday, September 2
jtormoen

Patiently awaiting "packsackers".

John E.

Sunday, September 2
Scott Atwater

CNN, the most trusted name in news.

Sunday, September 2
jtormoen

Throw the bait ... and they shall come

Sunday, September 2
Scott Atwater

How interesting......editorials now redefined as bait . Perhaps fishing for diversity of thought, bravo.

Monday, September 3
jtormoen

Ah, back to the drawing board for the old journalism teacher ... would have sworn that seeking readers was the goal.

signed, John E.

Tuesday, September 4