The Press, The People, Are Not The Enemy

Adrianne B. Furniss

In his first full day in office, President Donald Trump declared during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.” This war has raged on for 573 days. Today, I stand with journalists around the country to say that the press is not the enemy here.

As Samuel Johnson first noted in 1758, “Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”

I trust that the people of this country have not so lost their love of truth that they would allow their leaders to vilify our brothers and sisters who seek out and report on the truth so that we can aptly practice our democracy.  

Who can argue with the importance of a free press to our nation, our democracy, our liberty? And who would try to turn the people against our own tool for holding government accountable? That is the work of tyrants – and tyrants are the true enemy of the people.

Many may question why so many news outlets and others rise today to speak out against President Trump’s rhetoric. Others may ask why we give oxygen to the fire he himself flames.

My answer is that every day is a good day to stand up for the Constitution and to exercise our rights while we still have them.

And although the First Amendment begins “Congress shall make no law...” I remind you that in less than three months, we will be deciding what type of Congress we have – and with whom it is aligned.

The press is not the enemy of the people. Please say it with me: The press is the people. We should commit to protect, preserve, and strengthen it today and every day.

Adrianne B. Furniss is the Executive Director of the Benton Foundation.

Please also see:

The First Casualty is the Truth: Trump's Running War With the Media

Year One: Trump vs The Free Press

A Free Press Needs You

By Adrianne B. Furniss.