Originally Published: February 1, 2017 6 a.m.
Franklin Roosevelt came into office during crisis, the Great Depression and was moved to act. Obama came into office during crisis, the Great Recession and was moved to act. Trump came into office during no crisis, during relative economic prosperity, and peace, yet he seems determined to create a crisis based on false information (that we are in imminent danger from terrorists in seven Muslim nations) in order to discriminate against an entire religion, Islam. This is not what our democracy is about.
Steve Bannon, former head of white supremacist supporter Breitbart News, now top presidential adviser and permanent member of the National Security Council, has asked the press to “shut up...” Trump’s media advisor Kellyanne Conway, has told the media to “fire themselves.” Trump has said that the press are “the most dishonest people, terrible people, a disaster.” Thus, this administration has manufactured a war against the press in an attempt to muzzle them or delegitimize them. This is not what our democracy is about.
History has shown us when authoritarian dictator-type leaders come into power, the first thing they try to do is control or delegitimize the press. They also try to destabilize the institutions of the government, create fake news, and create chaos. Trump has begun doing this, and this, combined with his cozy relationship with an arch enemy of the United States, Russia, is very disturbing.
A Democracy cannot operate without a free and independent press. The press keeps the government honest and keeps the public informed. The legitimate press is an important pillar in our democracy. In light of the manufactured immigration crisis brought on by Trump’s executive order, the firing of the interim U.S. Attorney General, Sally Yates, and firing of the acting director of the Department of Immigration Customs Enforcement, we need the press now more than ever.