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By: Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher of African-American News & Issues & Author of column series We MUST Understand

 We MUST Understand that in times past, the harshest types of dictators to ever exist, initiated their administrations on demeaning and warring with various media outlets. While it is true that the press has the power to persuade, with that, it also has the means to inform and empower our people about certain ills that continue to invade our fortresses. Usually, it is those who have the most to hide that exhibit the greatest offense against news and how it is distributed and reported. Be that as it may, there is nothing unconstitutional about reporting news and the press having the freedom to do it in the most objective way determined. As a matter of fact, the truth is that it is very much so constitutional for the press to express itself freely. I believe that all of the alarms should be sounded in regards to Trump’s consistent allegations of the “fake news” simply doing its job!

In order for us to best understand what is going on here, I think that it is important that I present two terms, democracy and dictatorship. Democracy has been defined as: a government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives; a political or social unit that has such a government; the common people, considered as the primary source of political power; where the majority rules and the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

On the other hand, a dictatorship is best described as a form of government where a country is ruled by one person or political entity, and exercised through various mechanisms to ensure the entity’s power remains strong. Furthermore, a dictatorship is a type of authoritarianism, in which politician[s] regulate nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of citizens. In our current presidential administration, as the days pass it is seemingly appearing to be a dictatorship type of government, more and more. This statement can be evidenced in many ways but in this editorial, I am strictly targeting the continual attacks against the free press by President Donald Trump.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Donald Trump referred to the media as, “the enemy of the American people”. It is not right to attack the free press just because we do our job. Any time a situation arises and the President does not like the way it is presented he calls it, “fake news”. This is disturbing and should raise immediate flags; because a bond between the press and one of the highest branches that this country operates under is pertinent in solidifying trust between the American people and the Chief Executive Officer of the country.

To that regard, calling the news media “the enemy of the American people”; is about as wrong as “Congress still debating if Negroes were individuals or property in 1963”. But that’s a statement for another issue. Alluding to the phrase, “the enemy of the American people” in correlation with the free press contradicts the very sentiments outlined for the press as listed in the Constitution. The last person that should be in contradiction with the Constitution of these United States should be the commander-in-chief. To me, that is a major conflict of interest and he too as I state about ALL politicians, should be held accountable.

To further prove my point, let me just state what the Constitution states about the freedom of press as defined by the Lincoln Educational Criminal Justice System. Freedom of the press protects the right to obtain and publish information or opinions without government censorship or fear of punishment. Censorship occurs when the government examines publications and productions and prohibits the use of material it finds offensive. Freedom of press applies to all types of printed and broadcast material, including books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, films and radio and television programs. The Constitution’s framers provided the press with broad freedom. This freedom was considered necessary to the establishment of a strong, independent press sometimes called ‘the fourth branch’ of the government. An independent press can provide citizens with a variety of information and opinions on matters of public importance.”

It continues to reveal that, “In the United States, the government may not prevent the publication of a newspaper, even when there is reason to believe that it is about to reveal information that will endanger our national security. By the same token, the government cannot: pass a law that requires newspapers to publish information against their will; impose criminal penalties, or civil damages, on the publication of truthful information about a matter of public concern or even on the dissemination of false and damaging information about a public person except in rare instances; impose taxes on the press that it does not levy on other businesses; compel journalists to reveal, in most circumstances, the identities of their sources or prohibit the press from attending judicial proceedings and thereafter informing the public about them.”

So I have presented the facts and I rest my case! Now it’s up to you ask yourselves the question… Is this Trump administration operating under a democratic system or that of a dictatorship?

 

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