According to Lloyd Grove, Lewandowski admitted to Breitbart reporter (and noted Trump groupie) Matthew Boyle that “he did manhandle Fields,” but only because “he didn’t recognize her as a Breitbart reporter, instead mistaking her for an adversarial member of the mainstream media.” In other words, he wouldn’t have hurt her if he’d known she was a friendly.
– Daily Caller
I am not the typical journalist. In fact I’d say I’m more of an editorialist. I don’t go to rallies to ask people questions, I go to them so I can make fun of the politician and his/her supporters later, when I take apart their poorly conceived policies.
However, I am friends with a lot of people who fall into the “journalist” category of political writing and I am worried for them (and for myself as well) under a potential Donald Trump Presidency.
Based on Trump’s rhetoric and his own campaign staff’s actions (and Trump’s support for them after the fact) we would be facing an extremely hostile environment for journalists under Trump.
A man that is willing to allow his campaign manager to continue to work for him after assaulting a journalist (and reportedly admitting to it and claiming he only did it because he didn’t know she was from a Trump friendly news site, as if her being from National Review or some other MSM network would have made assaulting her okay) clearly has no respect for journalism, though that is something we already knew.
Donald Trump has been filing and threatening lawsuits to shut up critics and adversaries over the whole course of his career. He dragged reporter Tim O’Brienthrough years of litigation over a relatively favorable Trump biography that assigned a lower valuation to his net worth than he thought it should have. He suedthe Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic over a piece arguing that a planned Trump skyscraper in lower Manhattan would be “one of the silliest things” that could be built in the city. He used the threat of litigation to get an investment firm to fire an analyst who correctly predicted that the Taj Mahal casino would not be a financial success. He sued comedian Bill Maher over a joke.
Trump’s respect for journalism ends where journalists stop kissing his ass and report the facts. Truth and freedom of the press be damned, if someone criticizes Trump then they must be sued! Even when he has no facts to back up his claim that a journalist was libelous.
Of course all his failures to successful win these libel cases have led him to one inescapable conclusion, not that he needs to cool it with his ridiculous lawsuits, but that he needs to leverage his power as President to change libel laws so that he’ll have an easier time suing people who criticize him.
So under a Trump presidency we are looking at an administration that is both openly physically hostile toward journalists (and protestors, who he asked his supporters to punch…a request they followed) and the first amendment, but litigiously hostile as well. Creating an environment where journalists, from those in the corner offices at Fox and MSNBC down to the lowliest podcaster or blog writer, fear for their safety and their livelihood if they dare to say a single negative word about our dictator in chief.
Considering the fact that our founding fathers spoke about the press in such terms as “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” and “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.” (a quote that was inscribed on the wall when I was at the Walter Cronkite school of journalism) and “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state.” I cannot imagine they would find this climate an ideal one for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or the continuation of our country as they envisioned it.
The situation under a Trump presidency, for the press, would undoubtedly begin to look somewhat like the freedom of the press that Russian President Vladimir Putin allows.