An Open Letter to President Trump: The Press and The First Amendment

Mr. President,

I think the likelihood of your reading this is rather low, but I am going to write this anyway in the hopes that you will. The past month and a half since your inauguration has been tumultuous to say the least. I could go into detail, but between certain executive orders that you have signed and the resignation and decision for certain cabinet nominees to decline their appointments, I’m sure that you can understand what I mean.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I did not vote for you. With that being said, I am not writing this to deride you, but to try to appeal to your appreciation of this democratic republic we call home. Regardless of where we sit on the political spectrum, we all rely on the freedoms guaranteed by The Constitution. The right to free speech, bear arms, practice or not practice religion or any other basic rights that we as citizens enjoy are all guaranteed by the current version of that 200 year old document.

It is what has granted you the path towards the wealth that you have accrued to this date. If not for those who wrote, signed and fought for the freedoms that this document protects, we may very well still be subjects of England and subject to a king or queen.

I write this because that same document protects the freedom of the press. I have stated how the press has fallen short of fulfilling their responsibility to accurately inform the American electorate and serve as a watchdog over all political administrations in government. I dare say that media (particularly corporate media) has too many direct ties to those in power, as many of the pundits are insiders from the political establishment.

Regardless of these problems, shutting out the press is not in line with the ideals that we aspire to as a nation. I understand that you may not like how certain members within the press are presenting your political stances. The fact that they, and people in general can have opinions that you don’t care for is the whole point of The First Amendment.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Reference: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

The whole point of The First Amendment is to protect unpopular speech. Speech that is popular, by definition, does not need protection as it is acceptable to society as a whole. It is also to prevent any leader, or any person with power from silencing dissenting views. Opting to permit certain media outlets while denying others is the first step towards censorship.

As president, or simply as a human being for that matter, you have to go in with the understanding that some people simply aren’t going to like you. That doesn’t mean that you should censor them, especially as a sitting president. As the President, taking abuse from the media is part of your job. You as leader of a super-power are always going to be the subject of scrutiny. Banning certain outlets because you don’t like how they view you is just wrong.

It was wrong when President Obama’s White House Staff did it…

The first real shot from the White House, however, came when aides excluded “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace” — which they had previously treated as distinct from the network — from a round of presidential interviews with Sunday morning news programs in mid-September.
We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction, which is aided and abetted by the mainstream press, that Fox is a traditional news organization,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the deputy White House communications director.

Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/us/politics/23fox.html

and it’s wrong when your White House Staff does it.

Today administration officials reportedly barred a number of news outlets from joining an informal press briefing…
For its part, the Trump administration is denying any ill intent, claiming instead that it had just invited a few additional reporters to join the pool

Reference: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/445235/when-it-comes-press-access-trump-needs-be-better-obama-not-worse

If your concern is getting your message out, use Youtube and say exactly what you mean in an address, then post a copy of your executive order to it. If you think that you are being unfairly judged by the media, that’s a perfect avenue for you to set the record straight. Then you can let us figure it out on our own.

Just to be clear, there is no bias here. The press, to include corporate media (despite their problems) has a responsibility to the citizens to cover you. It is not their job to like you, nor is it your job to care. Your job is to work in the best interests of all citizens of these United States. That does not include being the President who censors media. That’s not in your job description.