One Thing Donald Trump Would Like Is Freedom From the Press

The president dreams of living in a world with “Fox & Friends” and almost no one else.

Comments: 179

  1. "As with so many things about President Trump, it strikes me that he didn’t start the fire. He got into office because it was already burning and now he’s pouring on gasoline." This quote from Fishkin is unbelievably on point--in "political hardball" all it takes is one side to become so shameless about a power grab (Merrick Garland anyone?) that it sets the landscape for further breaking of institutional customs. Donald Trump, and the GOP, are spoiling for a fight, a fight over essential constitutional freedoms. In their view, their "cause" is so just that it justifies changing the very practices that have ruled administrations since our founding. This is dangerous, because not everything is enshrined in constitutional clauses. I'm less concerned about Trump's denunciations of the press than I am about GOP silence of same. Because, as Trump becomes more emboldened the more he's cornered by the Russia investigation and his own chaos, he'd find great satisfaction in say, jailing a reporter, or stopping a certain publication from writing. At that point would Republicans say nothing? We shatter our norms and laws at our peril--once one is broken, why not another?

  2. Your point about how sure the GOP is about their positions is spot on. The arrogance of the GOP's sanctimoniousness is mind-boggling, particularly in light of the fact that they have been consistently on the wrong side of history on every single social issue from mid-twentieth century on. The actual theft of a Supreme Court seat is one of the Republicans' most infamous moves and yet, the press moved on to another act in the Trump circus. Mitch McConnell in his refusal to acknowledge Russian meddling in the election, his masterminding of the Merrick seat caper and his declaration of war on President Obama's legislative agenda should have been relentlessly pursued by the press--but I fear that it is now too late, since so many simply distrust the media and the institutions it is meant to oversee.

  3. It may be a naive thought, but perhaps one way to begin to combat the political polarization that is eroding our nation's shared sense of political norms would be for non-partisan groups to mount a series of public service announcements on all platforms of media -- much like the PSAs that convinced society that cigarettes are unhealthy and seatbelts save lives -- that address our shared values and communicate basic lessons of both civics and civility. Exposed for several years to this kind of positive advertising for democratic norms might help citizens begin to appreciate and re-engage in the political process in a more productive manner and help them to understand why flouting norms can be dangerous to our way of life.

  4. I've given this a lot of thought. The problem is there aren't necessarily shared norms anymore. How else can you explain Trump's strong support in the GOP when he flouts those norms every day?

  5. It’s not a “negative” idea, but as I responded to an earlier post, it’ll take some moral fortitude from corporations to, if not develop, then to air such ads.

  6. What an excellent idea. Why not have a public education effort focused on stressing the normals and the way things should be in any democracy? Examples of how to respond to hate, examples of how to respond to provocative statements and how to politely debate an issue without soundbites and slogans and talking points. Like Schoolhouse Rock for modern adults.

  7. The radical gun advocates defend their interpretation of Second Amendment, that widespread gun ownership will protect us from government tyranny. Ironically, it seems these are same people that would dismantle our freedom of speech protections of the First Amendment. There is a reason freedom of speech is the very first amendment, which is to ensure open discourse of opinions and ideas. If these opinions and ideas are muted in support of any political narrative, then I fear these will be some dangerous times for our Democracy.

  8. What is radical to you is perfectly reasonable to others. What's absurd is the imaginary connection between gun ownership and the destruction of the 1A, something most gun owners are vehement about protecting.

  9. Although our perception of our Revolution may not not show it, guns have been used more to suppress free speech rather than to protect it. In a debate a gun is not the most intelligent voice but it is the loudest.

  10. I would posit the NRA’s postitions and initiatives in Congress on gun ownership and suggest the best example of a connection between radical gun owner and the erosion of First Amendment is the NRA-driven Dickey Amendment. Passed in 1996, this legislation cut funding that effectively ended the C.D.C.’s study of gun violence as a public health issue. The CDC is allowed to report on every public health issue, excep for gun violence. Muzzling the CDC on this subject is a clear encroachment of the First Amendment.

  11. The irony here is that there is indeed a problem with a media - specifically conservative media, like FOX, in that their favorite news source has become their backsides. FOX today goes out of its way to function as a Pravda-style misinformation machine - to an extent that other networks in America have never attempted, and likely would never dare. The irony of our Birther-in-chief's attacks on the media is that he is most guilty of everything that he claims his opponents are attempting to do to him - and he only gets away with it due to the fact that FOX and their fellow travelers in the brown stain media provide him cover, and normalize his disgusting, treasonous behavior One solution to our current crisis is to organize and impose a comprehensive, punishing economic boycott on everything that FOX and its fellow travelers in the brown stain media touch. Don't watch FOX entertainment TV, don't support its advertisers, etc. Hit them, their shareholders, and their advertisers in their wallets. And then we once we get back into control of all three branches of government, reimpose a 21st century version of the Fairness Doctrine - even on cable. Political pornography is too dangerous to the American mind to allow it go unchecked. The First Amendment would cease to exist if brown stain conservatives like Trump had their way. It must not serve as a protection of their efforts to dismantle it.

  12. Your recommendation to “hit them where it hurts” is a good one, and one that worked when advertisers pulled support from Bill O’Reilly and other commentators. I don’t know of the feasibility of the PUBLIC to refrain from Fox entertainment or sports. Most don’t see (myself included) how significant our individual actions impact the “Fox machine.” Withdrawal of corporate support requires a courage to risk profits by taking moral stances. Some companies do, some don’t. Just look at Fed Ex’s refusal to dissociate programs with the NRA. A Times interview with the CEO of Merck last week underscored the personal integrity required to be among the first to take action, as he did by withdrawing from the President’s corporate advisory council after Charlottesville. Your proposal, as much as I support it, requires a “groundswell” of social consciousness by corporate executives and Boards, precisely the beneficiaries of programs like the recent tax bill. I hope, for all our sakes, that these conversations are taking place in boardrooms and executive suites across America.

  13. When Don, Jr said that the presidency was a step down for his father before the election, I didn't understand. Now, I do. He wants to be able to tell everyone what to do or else. He was the law in his businesses. He does want to be Putin or the other tyrants. As others have said, this is not going to end well.

  14. Agreed. I've said it before when you go into service as either an elected, appointee, or as a government employee the highest you can go in your official position is one step below you and me. Citizen. Those who go into government to serve understand that that they work for the people. Those who go in for power to rule over others do not.

  15. This column spells out beautifully why and how Trump's anti-press demagoguery reflects his contempt for the nation's founding principles. And also how it puts the press in an impossible position. Will sounding the alarm (and, boy, does it need to be sounded) only serve to give more fodder to Trump's crusade against the First Amendment? There's the rub.

  16. At this point in the Trump presidency, almost the only thing that is keeping his dictatorial tendencies in check is our free press. The Republican majority in Congress has wholly abdicated its responsibilities with respect to ensuring that the WH is abiding by its duties and operating within the parameters of the Constitution. The courts are slowly but surely being populated with people like Neil Gorsuch, who will "interpret" the law to serve Trump's purposes and not serve as a check/balance vis-a-vis either the WH or Congress. I'm tempted to say that I don't know where/what our country would be at this point without our free press, except that I do know: our country would be Russia, or Venezuela, or China, or Saudi Arabia. The Blue Wave in November 2018 cannot come soon enough.

  17. "Freedom From the Partisan Press" is a goal that all Americans should desire.The media cannot be both strongly partisan and a reliable source of news, fact, and fair analysis of issues. Unfortunately almost all major media organizations choose to be partisan and undermine their own credibility. When the media predominantly promotes liberal,progressive and Democratic party political positions, the complaints of "fake news" are legitimate.

  18. Really? I've heard conservatives complain that even C-SPAN is libral-biased. Explain that.

  19. Examples? Data? References? Anything at all to support you assertions?

  20. When the press reports what DT says, they are not promoting liberalism. They are doing their job. They are reporting the truth. That's not bias. You want that? Check Fox News and Alex Jones.

  21. Trump believes in free speech as long as it comes from his mouth or Twitter account. He says whatever he wants, no matter how repellent, but he wants to deny the rights of others to do the same particularly when it comes to criticizing him and his actions. The author is correct that if the news media needs keeps doing good investigative journalism perhaps they’ll regain some of the trust they’ve lost among reasonable people. Just look at the great work done in investigating Roy Moore which likely contributed to his loss, and with Harvey Weinstein which helped kick off a wave of more great reporting and further revelations that empowered so many more women to speak up and helped spark a powerful movement with #MeToo. If mainstream media can stay focused, and keep working hard at reporting on what’s most important and relevant, especially to younger readers, and skillfully use social media, perhaps there’s a chance of turning the tide in gaining confidence in their reporting and credibility.

  22. Absent from this piece was any discussion of the media’s own shortcomings that surely have in part contributed to the sense of distrust of the press that Trump has amplified. Acknowledging mistakes and challenges may help to build more trust. Redacted stories, overly dramatized articles, and clickbait do not go unnoticed. The media can start to combat Trump’s tactics aimed at undermining the press by first making sure its own house is in order.

  23. So this seems to me false equivalence. Trump can run roughshod over the truth to the point of denying things that he probably said previously. He attacks the first amendment as treason. And you are concerned about click bait?

  24. Your comment has merit, but each media outlet applies a different standard for their remediation -- they are not all the same in their failure to get 100% of the facts correct. The NYT includes errata at the end of every online article, though you will NEVER see an errata (or equivalent) from partisan news outlets. Second, there is a difference between news and commentary. Commentary is not news and is not subject to the same standards of neutrality. Clickbait is more often commentary (like this article) which must be interpreted as such -- just someone's point of view. Trump does not understand nor distinguish the difference between news and commentary. He can tolerate neither, even when "real" news quotes him verbatim. News media does not always get it right and everyone knows that. But Trump is thin-skinned, paranoid, and incapable of owning his behavior. Every other president before him could handle it with dignity and a grain of salt. Not this guy.

  25. In terms of reference to Trump denying he said things he "probably" previously said. He has denied saying things that he has been taped saying. And pointing this out doesn't help. He continues to deny.

  26. The frame of the article is too narrow and self involved. The press is spending too much time on the analysis of Trump’s demogoguery and not enough time on the greater underlying problem. We live in an era where not just a free press but the truth and facts themselves are relegated to insignificance. More importantly we live in a country where adherence to false narrative is the underpinning of an entire political party. Fact: The earth is more than 6,000 years old. Fact: GOP policies have added more to the national debt than any other factor. Fact: Global warming and it’s consequences are not 100% proven yet the consequences are dire enough to require rigorous scientific study because our future may well depend on it. Fact: The Russians did attempt to influence our election and it is critical that we have a coordinated effort to prevent a recurrence. Fact: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” in the age of a standing military, is outdated concept. Until we find a way to get responsible people into GOP leadership roles we will continue to see the assault on science and facts that will eventually destroy our country. Moderate republicans may revere Ronald Reagan but we must recognize the difference he represents. While Reagan started us on the path of tax cuts and ballooning deficits he did not have 30 years of economic data to prove his trickle down theory wrong. Today’s leaders do and choose to ignore it.

  27. I would argue that your last "Fact" is out of step with the rest of your comment. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State", is the necessary part of the Second Amendment. The 2d Amendment Absolutists would discard that phrase in order to justify their stance. There was a reason that it was the leading part of the amendment. It was to emphasize the need for a militia to protect the country composed of citizens rather than a standing army. It was to protect that concept that the right to bear arms was made an absolute. That we now have a standing army calls for a revision to the Second Amendment to eliminate the absolutist terminology.

  28. In the other direction, here are 10 myths that conservatives love to flog: 1. Significantly (say, no deficits for more than 3 years) paying down the federal debt has usually been good for the economy. 2. The single payer health care systems of other developed countries produce no better results at not much lower costs. 3. The very high top tax rates after WWII combined with high real (ratio of taxes actually paid to GDP) corporate taxes stifled economic growth. 4. The devastation of WWII caused the output of Europe to stay low for many (>10) years. 5. A small ratio of federal debt to GDP has always insured prosperity. 6. Inequality such as we have today (Gini about 0.50) has usually encouraged entrepreneurship thus helping the economy. 7. Our ratio of our corporate taxes actually paid to GDP is among the highest of all developed countries. 8. Since WWI, the cause of severe inflation in developed countries has usually been the printing of money. 9. As a percentage of GDP, today's federal debt service is the highest in many years. 10. Inequality such as we have today is an aberration; the history of capitalism has shown that periods like 1946 - 1973 with low inequality are the norm.

  29. I would love this list if it were restated so a quick read wouldn't seem like a list of in facst rather than myths. Just a random AM thought. Good compilation though!

  30. I believe an unbiased press should today have a very strong agenda. At every turn it should counter ANY normalization of Trump as President, and equally counter the normalization (ongoing since President Obama) of the ultra right-wing Republicans in Congress. Unfortunately it's pretty obvious that the major media outlets (and I'm NOT talking about the Fox brand) have essentially backed away from aggressively countering the normalization of Trump. Instead, they've measured him, at best, meekly at the role of president, always seeming to allow for his path forward. Trump No Majority. No Mandate. Know Nothing.

  31. his constant attacks on the media have made me so much more appreciative of the work journalists and the media do. and hopefully the impact will be to inspire people to continue being engaged. it's made me subscribe to a lot more outlets than i did before. I agree with the point on civic education - people need to understand, before they reach voting age, the role the media plays in political life, freedom of the press, etc.

  32. If this is a war, it's pretty one sided. It's more like a Blitzkrieg. Trump attacks, and the press meekly responses, afraid or riling up the right wing media machine (the real fake news), or being accused of liberal bias. Reality is, this will happen anyway unless the press parrots every thing Trump says that doesn't demonstrate the level of adoration he feels entitled to. Fight back. Not just against Trump, but the whole right wing machine. Don't just report on Trump's tweets, investigate how the right wing inflates the lies, fact check and retort them. Print every bombastic statement these airbags make. Show the public how the right wing plays the game and the reasonable people (of which I believe there is still a majority) what true balanced journalism is. We'll never win over those whose minds are closed, but we shouldn't have to. This country has paid a steep price for the fear of 'tyranny of the majority' to the point where extremists now rule. Minority opinion matters, but not when that opinion runs counter to the truth, which is where we are today--on both sides. Many leftist opinions that dominate the media are being driven by over-reaching ideology that mocks anyone that fails to meet their rigid standards, regardless of intent. It's time for the majority of decent people to stand up and take our country back from the extremists. And to do so we need the help of the press.

  33. Good column. But for historical perspective your readers need to review the Powell Memo (search online for it). The GOP has pursued a 45 year strategy which has this kind of media degradation and false equivalence as its aim, bolstered not only by right-wing talk radio but also the Roger Ailes-built media cancer that is Fox News.

  34. I agree. The republicans seem to want a dictatorial form of government. The only people with rights of any kind would be the wealthy. The rest of us tax payers would end up paying for the messes that the wealthy’s businesses create. The banks are busy right now trying to eliminate the regulations imposed on them by the Dodd-Frank legislation. Thee big banks would love to go back to the kind of lending they were doing at the height of the housing boom. The banks knew that the government (us the taxpayers) would bail them out and the republicans are perfectly happy to allow them to do it again. The republicans are working hard to drive this country to the ground again. Only this time they will pay for it by taking it out of Medicare and Social Security, this has been the goal of republicans for a long time. Republicans use social issues to get elected because they know they won’t get elected by their draconian policy ideas, there are not enough wealthy people to elect them.

  35. "Republicans on the far right...have been willing to engage in constitutional hardball because they are drawn to “narratives of debasement and restoration.” We saw this in 2016 in the legislative coup that Mitch McConnell employed to deny President Obama's choice to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. What McConnell did was to both challenge the underpinnings of the executive's duties as written in the Constitution and also to call into question the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. It was a bold and aggressive challenge to America's fundamental principles--including a free press--that McConnell knew would go down well on the hard right's media outlets and in increasingly hostile electorate. McConnell, then, took no great risk. He knew that his actions were motivated by a racial animus towards President Obama. He singlehandedly upped the far right's ante in its attack upon the body politic. With a media culture muzzled by a naïve fright of violating "fair and balanced" guardrails, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Fox News and other organs that promote and encourage autocratic, repressive behavior in public officials and public policy are given free rein for their hate. Richard Nixon was an experienced politician even if he was uncomfortable with the media. Donald Trump is a media creation who took entertainment into the political realm and then singlehandedly defined it on his own terms. His administration defines "debasement," and "restoration" is his summons to nativism.

  36. Sigh, it would sure be nice to have Nixon Now. But the current crop of Rs would call him a RINO

  37. The “press” and social media have matched Trump’s every step in his descent into vulgarity and wanton disregard for truth, civility, and concern for the long term impact on this country’s political fabric. There has been no high ground on either side; from the moment of his election we have been subjected to a mutual vituperation not seen since the decades before the Civil War. . At some point we will be rid of Trump, but what of a press that descended with him to the lowest possible denomination?

  38. Reporting the Thing's movements, thoughts and destructive behavior are necessary evils I am afraid. Hide in the closet if you prefer.

  39. what's with the scare quotes around the word press?

  40. I believe you paint the “press” with too broad a stroke. This is a traditional logical fallacy: “this article is biased therefore all articles are biased” It is not hard to find legitimate, hard hitting but factually accurate investigative pieces. All too often people blend the opinion and the news components of journalism and then condemn them all in one lump.

  41. The attack on genuine journalism reveals several weaknesses that would best be dealt with. One is the mix of news and advertising -- from the limited amount of news presented on the daily TV national news squeezed in between commercials (and its need to offer fluff to attract viewers) to the contest for audience, even PBS has ads, lots of ads. Another is the attempt to get at news with quotes (as Edsall does in a sophisticated way, but still leaving us with a on the one hand on the other hand account) and one liners. Journalists need deeper knowledge of their subjects (too many "generalists") and a heavy does of historical and global understanding. Nothing makes sense without being contextualized in relation to the past and in relation to the rest of the world. Example = Sure, abortion news has a moral and definitional content. But are abortions increasing or decreasing over time (and what is the cause)? Does this region or nation have more or fewer abortions -- and what is the cause. A journalist should know these things to understand the present. Press conferences are a silly game; at their best only some news trinket gets revealed. Understanding requires a serious conversation limited to only a few topics. Skipping from one to another reveals a bad case of journalistic attention deficit disorder. Leave the one-liners to the comics.

  42. Yes I agree. How many adds for psoriasis and prediabetes do I need to see on the evening news, only to come back to see something about The Batchelor? C'mon. News from Europe, think BBC or Tagesschau have much more newsworthy coverage, not just on European and world issues, but also on American issues. Why is that? Possibly something to do with corporate ownership of media, for profit media, but to have govt owned media in the US right now would also be problematic.

  43. Unfortunately, when the Fairness Doctrine was killed, when specialized investigative reporters were eliminated and the news departments were subordinated to the entertainment divisions at major television news outlets, we were already in a declining era of educated reporters and public consumers. Since too many "news" anchors and commentators are merely talking heads lacking the serious investigative backgrounds to be able to give educated context to the stories, they become no better than you or I at getting to the essentials of a "story". A story without context or analysis is just gossip. I, too, long for the days of truly professional journalists.

  44. I am reminded of a line from a hymn “the still small voice of calm”. This should be the goal of the press. It must avoid responding to the hysteria of the president and instead pursue facts without emotion. When people tire of the chaotic noise, then they will listen to reason in the press. Reason and fact, only then will we have an informed electorate.

  45. Any suggestion that the press is blameless is a sign of non-critical reading. It is not just that the presss lacks objectivity. It actively attacks Trump and communicates disdain, sometimes in ways that are unwarranted.

  46. Can you offer one instance when the MSM made an unwarranted attack against Trump? Often they simply report what he said or did and he doesn’t like it because it makes him look bad. And maybe he shouldn’t lie all the time?

  47. If Trump did not create egregious errors that cover so many moral, legal, ethical and, even highly personal dimensions, the press would still not be "blameless" in their coverage. However, Trump himself has created nearly all the drama here as he has taken over the office with little conscience for the nation as a whole, and even less as a man who understands and respects our constitution and our institutions. Let the free press pursues all these obvious possibilities of criminal behaviors, both large and small, on a daily basis. and millions of us citizens will judge the coverage as a whole. Trump is not above the law. Our nation is not a reality show where all the people are fooled all the time.

  48. The press is supposed to be adversarial to government power. It’s role is guaranteed by the 1st amendment. The reverse is not true.

  49. Trumps assaults on our democracy did not come out of a vacuum. Fox News has insinuated for years that the "mainstream media" has a strong liberal bias devoid of journalistic integrity and has made that tune a true country music hit among the disenfranchised, often low information, white voters who are the same people whose fervor helped bring us the Trump presidency. The true believers in gun rights, the God given supremacy of human fetuses and the white race (at least those who are Christian) have been bolstered and pandered to for decades in an orchestrated effort to pass legislation like the recent tax cut. Let's not give Trump all the credit for this, his table was set by the tireless efforts and bottomless pockets of far more able men than he. David Koch believes in freedom of choice but contributes generously to pro-life causes is just one clue to the extent of the general conspiracy that has brought us here. If the mainstream media actually had a liberal bias, Americans would be more aware of this. But the media is owned by the corporate middle- not the liberal left.

  50. Republicans are trying (and often succeeding) in making the center the new left. Those further to the left than that are labeled sub human

  51. Faux news was the turning point for the rise of lies as fact. If you look back to 1996 when faux appeared, that was the actual point when fake news was institutionalized, and since then most Americans have been busy entertaining themselves to death, and have lost interest in civics and knowledge. The only way out of this mess is to educate people and find a way to remove faux news and their ilk from mainstream consumption. The cult that is right wing propaganda will be demolished by educated and engaged youth, so it is our responsibility to teach and encourage today's young people to be responsible citizens.

  52. "David Koch believes in freedom of choice by contributes generously to pro life causes..." This is an extremely important point and one the media seems to shy away from. Rank and file conservatives are being manipulated by people who don't even believe the red meat they are tossing. They are being lied to on a daily basis by a collection of hypocrites to control and manipulate their voting power and their affinity for chaos. After all, while we are over here talking about Trump supporters, the rich are destroying everything we've accomplished in the last 100 years and reducing the average man to penury.

  53. Great photo crop. It shows Trump as most of us see him. We have no head of government anymore.

  54. Our head of gov't is chaos.

  55. TO THE EB: Erratum in my submission, TYPO: Meant JFK, not RFK in sentence re coverage of regicide by Lewis and Reston in Nov. '63.

  56. TO THE EB: You printed note pinpointing an error in my original comment--actually I submitted three basically saying the same thing--but not the comment itself. What's the point? What is your reasoning!If you please, run 1 of the comments in its entirety. Thanks.

  57. Authoritarian regimes gain control over their people with a nonstop 24/7 onslaught of propaganda. The first thing dictators do is take control of the media. The install state TV and state Radio and state Internet. Anyone that dares to oppose state run media ends up in a ditch with a bullet in the head or banished forever to some gulag. Trump can't go that far, so he does the next best thing. He uses state media to tell the public that only state media tells the truth and all other sources are liars. All other sources are in fact enemies of the state. Only Trump and Fox News can be trusted. The tactic works and is very effective. Trump still has the support of nearly 40% of the people. Mr. Edsall writes excellent essays that document and enumerate current happenings with scientific evidence and academic commentary. In this case, that is completely unnecessary. A person doesn't need to be a meteorologist to know that it is raining. Just look out of the widow. Trump is an authoritarian, a dictator wanna be. He uses media like all other dictators. Just look out of the window.

  58. Grand Old Propaganda has successfully peddled their poison for decades; radio, TV and now the internet has made it exponentially more effective, enabling Trump to ascend via Twitter, the Fake News channel and the alt-right paranoid conspiracy industrial complex. Donald gaslighted himself to political fame based on the despicable, deplorable, racist Birther Lie.....he's the ultimate lowlife American who appeals to the basest tribal instincts for authoritarian power. “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.” ― Robert A. Heinlein “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ― George Orwell “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” ― George Orwell “There is nothing in the record of the past two years when both Houses of Congress have been controlled by the Republican Party which can lead any person to believe that those promises will be fulfilled in the future. They follow the Hitler line - no matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth.” ― John F. Kennedy “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.” ― Hannah Arendt The GOP and Trump are existential threats to truth, democracy and America.

  59. You can add Fox News to those that threaten truthj , democracy, and America.

  60. The proper response of the media to Trump’s attacks on it is to continue to report the truth, including calling out Trump’s false statements (mostly lies). If the truth makes Trump look bad, then so be it - Trump will attack it. Let him bark.

  61. No President gets freedom from the press. If he doesn't like it, he can quit.

  62. As I recall both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had love-hate relationships with the press.

  63. One of the reasons Trump admires dictators is because they shut down press outlets and make sure that the state-operated media in their countries pump out a constant stream of positive "news" about the government. Fox News already functions as state-operated media, much like Russia's Channel One and China Central Television, to manipulate and distort information in favor of Trump and the Republicans and to reinforce the government's policies. But, it's not just government policy that Trump wants to support, it's also Trump. He would love a television outlet that would preach of his own greatness and turn him into a demi-God, like North Korea's Kim. If he could, Trump would close down private and independent media, silence criticism of his policies and have TrumpTV all day, every day. A nightmare for the country.

  64. The press certainly deserves harsh criticism for the part it has played in landing us in the mess we are in. For example, the NY Times part in allowing the Iraq War should not be forgotten. On the other hand, we need to defend the freedom of the press at least as vigorously as gun advocates defend their twisted version of the right to bear arms. A healthy press, one that does not bend to the extraordinary pressures that can be brought to bear, really is fundamental to democracy. I heard a debate back in 2004 where a editor of a major journal defended his coverage of the "news." His opponent talked about facts and truth and that is where the press needs to focus. We've seen where the "news" leads, and it is a place rife with denial of science, massive inequality, and wide-spread alienation. A place where Donald Trump is President.

  65. The press didn’t do its job well with Vietnam or Iraq or in covering the candidacy of Trump. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a free press.

  66. Thomas, the paramount, signal, single, and seminal thing that faux-Emperor Trump, dictators, and actual Emperors "Like (is not) Freedom From the Press", but freedom from functioning Democracies --- which enforce and protect under Constitutions, and an active, informed, and loudly, but peacefully engaged citizenry (like the students now demonstrating for their own lives), that insures Freedom Of the Press. BTW, If Tom had taken the Paine to edit Henry's rallying cry, he would have shouted out: "Give Me Liberty (from EMPIRE) or Give Me Death"

  67. Selling fact free fantasy is better termed propaganda. In personal terms it is dangerous delusion for Trump's child ego. Trump is a real and present danger to the country and the world. Media must continue to point this out for the short and long term: facts persist. Is the GOP a legitimate political party when manned by officials swamped by its own delusional falsehoods?

  68. Journalism is the firewall that protects us from wannabe despots and self-serving criminals like Dangerous Donald. No wonder he's doing everything he can to erode this fundamental institution that almost alone keeps us free. Thankfully, it's great to see how the legitimate press has upped its game and not succumbed to the onslaught. Maybe enough of the Deplorables who voted for 45 will wake up and realize that this man and his terrorist Republican allies in Congress are a mortal danger to our freedom and way of life.

  69. You can't always get what you want. Like all petty dictators, Trump wants our media to be like Fox news, which turns truth into lies and lies into truth. Thank goodness for newspapers and TV outlets that continue to report the truth, whether he likes it or not, and truth with inevitably prevail.

  70. There was a history of a muck raking press in the past. There is plenty of muck to rake. Get to work. I doubt the left has the willingness or the ability to bring the same level of propaganda that the right has to this fight. It might be a losing battle. The WashPost had an article this AM quoting the SCP as saying (crowing, actually) that he just made up numbers in negotiations with Justin Trudeau. If that does not give you mile high headlines, what will?

  71. I cannot understand why the media is not capable of refuting the many presidential messages of ‘Fake News.’ They have many brilliant writers that should be able of creating a constant flow of stories to correct the dishonesty that flows from the daily tweets and the WH Press Office. Get going!

  72. The correct response to accusations by Dopey Donald that the press is dishonest is to report without political comment that Dopey Donald has stated "X" and then the he has stated "Opposite of X," or that he stated "X" and then DID the opposite of "X." By way of example, the recent hour long video coverage of meetings in which he spoke with members of Congress about the Dreamers and DACA, or with the public about gun violence, and then promptly reversed course and acted in a way opposite to what he had espoused in the meeting does more to undermine what little credibility he has than all the political palaver anyone else can publish. People know what they heard, and know when he does the opposite of what he said he would do. Posting the video or audio record for people to review for themselves helps make the point. Just report the facts, clearly and without arguing for or against those facts. People are smart enough to figure out who is lying. In particular, the press should report direct quotations, like the recent Washington Post report that Dopey Donald BRAGGED that he had "made it up" in speaking with Canadian Prime Mininster Justin Trudeau. If you publish analysis or opinion, clearly mark that piece as analysis or opinion. No amount of reporting is going to change the minds of the members of the CULT OF TRUMP, who slavishly follow him around and who excuse any of his failures or illegal acts. Don't waste your time trying to convince them of anything.

  73. I have been struck over the past couple of months at how many people, extended family, doctors, social friends, will out of nowhere start talking to me about how they have caught media outlets they once trusted not telling the whole story, burying other stories, etc. These are liberal - moderate New Englanders. And the outlets they mention are not Fox, who they wrote off years ago. The outlets include this paper.

  74. I think at least part of Trumps attack on the media now is preparing his fans for his run in 2020. He will run, he will lose, and he will blame it on the media (fake news) and a fixed election. If you think his rhetoric is bad now, just wait till Trump, as leader of his party, pulls out all the stops to brand the News Media as traitors and being unpatriotic. He not only wants freedom from the press, He wants his own press he can control much like he controls FOX.

  75. State of freedom of the press, free speech in America? America today lives a myth of freedom of press, free speech, democracy, a myth that it exists and that if it's going to be lost it will be taken from underneath, all at once, by some tyrannical force, the "monster taking democracy and free speech away" myth. The actuality is that for decades free press and speech and democracy has been lost like a clear day clouding slowly over, every interest in public sphere operating at the least by the principle that some things should never be mentioned, which is to say unlike great writers who do not believe in censorship at all and welcome challenge to their ideas, for decades virtually every interest in America has made every excuse to block, censor, malign this or that view with which it disagrees. Free press, speech, democracy has been lost by gradual takeover of public sphere by this and that interest, again like a bright day slowly clouding over. That a true and powerful threat, a tyrant, should appear, is just the first thunderclap in an obviously long recognized rainy day. In America we live a myth of free speech, press, democracy, that we are clearly the opposite of totalitarian states right or left worldwide. The actuality is probably no democracy today has the conception of truly open, uncensored press and speech. Democracy is obviously failing. No country trusts true and open speech and press for its citizens. Every person finds an excuse to just silence his enemy.

  76. When we take a break from the news now, it is to take a break from Trump. He is the most polarizing figure of modern times and the most influential. Conservatives must be made to understand that their pact with this devil will not actually further their aims without the taint of corruption. Our journalistic institutions must continue to challenge him without mercy. It is a war for the truth, and it will be won.

  77. " President" Trump, in his Sociopathic emptiness and absence of "personal Monitors", does Not need to care enough to Know or know enough to Care. Therefore, his free-floating Lying, also, has No inherent "Controls". He is also, thereby, able to continue to actually Enjoy the perpetual Center of Attention we, the People, are Giving Him. Again, meanwhile, We, the People, are comparing Him to some of the most Famous (or Infamous) Characters in History. Being Rich and "Successful" does not inherently Denote Normalcy.

  78. This is not your best piece. Trump doesn’t like the press. So what? He’s entitled to his opinion. And the press can and should hit back. Your advice that they pretend to be contrite is wrongheaded. By the way, you really mean the not pro trump press. Failure to contest the field would leave it to Murdoch, koches, and Limbaugh. That would be a big mistake. Fight fire with fire, remembering their fire is only heat. Ours is heat and light.

  79. Members of the press are, overwhelmingly, college graduates. College graduates are, more often than not, progressive in their attitudes about life and politics. Mr. T and his Republican toadies rely on a base of voters who uncritically accept the loudest and simplest messaging, relentlessly shoveled out by right wing pundits, Fox News, and the increasingly unhinged Republican machine. Knowledge and education are natural enemies of propagandists, who will stop at nothing to smear and discredit voices of reason. Social research has revealed what most of us already know: lies are easier to believe than the truth. The White House war on the Press is a calculated program to dominate information dissemination, and neutralize competing points of view. Our Deceiver in Chief's ambition to control the courts, muzzle the press, disenfranchise targeted voters, and influence law enforcement, will transform America into an other one of the world's many "Democratic Republics", another "democracy" in name only.

  80. Edsall is on point here. Recognize that Trump enjoyed a relationship with the media, and a well-rehearsed media persona, long before he took office. Trump enjoyed the ratings game (still does!). Nothing captures attention like controversy, drives ratings and ad revenue. Now, we see the Trump brand morphing into a cult of personality--loyalty and adoration are expected, and anything less is treasonous. Fox News notwithstanding, so-called legacy media is unaccustomed and unwilling to serve this role. For Trump, governance is a by-product of his self-serving behavior, never its intent. Little wonder, then, that Trump would object when the media treat his bloviating and boorish observations and behavior as if it is Presidential. The Oval Office is a stage prop, folks, and the media should assume its role as the Greek chorus.

  81. It’s not just the press. It’s the Truth. Trump is the enemy of authors, fact gathering committees, University professors, educators everywhere, in fact, education itself. Trump is the enemy of his own advisors, of his own party leaders and intellectuals, of science across the board. He is out to destroy the Truth because the truth contradicts him, and reveals his ignorance. The Truth costs him money and votes. The horrifying thing is that he has allies in this endeavor, his base, Fox “news”. Toadies like Mnuchin. Without facts, we can make no reasoned decisions, problems go unsolved, and justice is ill served.

  82. Trump doesn't know or care about the rules and laws or institutions of this country. Matter of fact such knowledge was seen as a disadvantage not only by Trump but many of those who voted for him specifically to ignore and break them. So here's a different approach: Donald J. Trump applied for and was given a new job. By us. A job for which the conditions of employment were well known and even defined by law. No one forced him to apply for or accept the job. He did so willingly. However now, after accepting the job he wants to change the terms of his employment. I wonder, what would be the reaction of businessman Trump, or even the many business owners who supported Trump, if one of their employees came to them and said that they want change the terms of their employment and have complete autonomy and no reviews. I believe the typical Republican response would be that you are free to quit if you don't like your job. It should never be forgotten that President serves at the pleasure of the American people. And the people have a right to know what their Government is doing.

  83. Trump and the press have made a devil's bargain. Trump may have right-wing inclinations but he is a promoter first and foremost. As such, he needs the press. He attacks it less to destroy than to get his message out. The press, collectively, has a mission to report and disseminate the news. But as President, what Trump says is news because he says it. Consequently, the press reports a melange of information, half-truths, distortions, outright lies, and gossip to a readership that largely finds it all amusing. As everyone becomes entertainers, the interests of the press and the President converge.

  84. One aspect of this isn't given much attention. When Trump tweets his anger at the press his minions respond in ways that can give journalists real cause for fear. Death threats are a given, but there is a genuine possibility of physical harm. Trump, of course, knows this and uses it.

  85. The corporate media are liberal on social issues and extremely conservative on issues involving the economy, money and class. They are also biased in favor of their own careerism, the status quo and what they perceive as the established authority. Does that make them biased in favor of the Democratic or Republican Party? I’m not sure. Within their own limitations, however, I trust the media to tell the truth 110% more than I would ever trust Trump.

  86. I have waited years (I'm nearly 70) for the press, at least the broadcast media, to regain their courage. There was a time of greatness. People like Eric Severeid of CBS, or John Chancellor of NBC, gave routine editorials. They were bold and thought provoking. What happened? The print media produce editorials all the time. Why can't the broadcast media do the same? Fox routinely presents editorials as news. It it high time that the REAL news people spoke up against the FAKE news pretenders.

  87. Reagan did away with the 'Fairness Doctrine' for the media and press. http://articles.latimes.com/1987-06-21/news/mn-8908_1_fairness-doctrine

  88. And in making the press Public Enemy No. 1, he has swallowed the far right playbook about the press. how did that happen? Remember Bannon, his former right arm? Case solved. What is really sad is that most people who hate the press have no idea that they are in effect supporting demagoguery and not democracy.

  89. The media has developed a code of conduct for covering government and politics that it tries to follow but refuses to acknowledge. The first rule of coverage is to report what government does and what officials say accurately. Government does so much and officials say so much that the media, especially the broadcast media, never get beyond the accuracy of transcription. The media too often fail to reach the essential question of who benefits from government action and who suffers. The media almost never get to the question of whether an official's statement is true, misleading, deceitful or a false. The media accept that officials are honorable public servants and should have wide latitude to spin yarns in service of their political leanings and in support of government action. The public do not endorse that code of conduct. The public does want accurate reporting. The public believes that accurate reporting identifies who benefits and who suffers from government action. The public believes that spin is almost always deceitful and false, that spin should be called out in the initial report and that officials should be held to account when they spin yarns. The public believes that officials should not be considered honorable public servants until they prove themselves. The media won't be able to deal with Trump until they acknowledge that their code of conduct doesn't meet the needs of the public.

  90. Do the press favor the Dems? Perhaps, but not intentionally. It is just that Republican ideology does not result in better lives for the majority of the people.

  91. Well, his attacks on the press have motivated me to subscribe to NYT and WaPo instead of just consuming their articles for free by various means, so there's that. I think I'm in the camp of those who counsel restraint. People will grow tired of the circus clowns and crave rationality and restraint. At least, the optimist in my wants to think so. That optimist has been dealt several serious psychic blows in the past two years.

  92. me too..

  93. Trump’s assault on the media is dangerous. The media shined a light on his most despicable moments- from his making fun of a disabled reporter to his insults of a gold star family. Without the media he would have a straight and smooth ride to dictatorship and I believe he would take it. Our media is the difference between us and, let’s say, Russia or the Philippines, where the only thing that gets reported is what the leader wants. I don’t like the commercial breaks either, but that’s what the mute button is for.

  94. What's sad is that the view of the media as biased is so, so true. I've been reading the NYT every day since 1955 and in the last decade or so have been shocked (c.f. Claude Raines in "Casablanca") to see the growing anti-Republican bias. Glaring example: Chris Christie. Perusing the Times during his governorship of New Jersey would, I'm sure, reveal zero articles or even mention of anything good that he ever did. The New Yorker, long apolitical, lost it during the Vietnam war and has been more and more biased ever since, to the point where I would say it's more than a match for Fox news. Personally I am on the side of the Times, the New Yorker, et. al. on almost all of the issues. But that they are heavily biased is undeniable.

  95. There aren’t two sides to the truth. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh aren’t it.

  96. In the simplified, one-dimensional world inhabited by Donald Trump the press is seen as nothing more than a collection of advertising agencies. A few of those ad agencies (Fox News, Breitbart, the New York Post) support Trump, so he praises them. Most of the other agencies criticize Trump, so he wants to destroy them.

  97. Sitting here down in rural Virginia, I have come to see this trump-media issue in a new light, for me, anyway. I try to see the media (Cable news) as my neighbors might. In other words, how does Trump get away with belittling the media day in and day out. The media way back when, say, in the early fifties, was an extension of the media during WWII. Taking risks, support the war effort, and taking second place to that effort. Nowadays the media is made up of, and presents itself as, the toughest, sleekest, most knowledgeable (especially when they gather in "experts"), and the best dressed, with high tech sets and videos. We seem to have come to accept this as normal. But the impact of all this power accrued by the media has a weakness. Many people who do not see themselves as tough, sleek, knowledgeable, fashionable, and appreciative of glamour might feel left out, subsumed, even disrespected. Consider the national media's responses to events in the hinterland. Send out by plane technicians, a name reporter, dressed to the nines or wearing a coat with a media logo on it, almost like a swat team from another reality. People like attention to some degree, but when it is part of someone else's job, and they try desperately to relate to the subject of the coverage, how do you feel? t I hope readers will get the point. Trump senses that there is a big disconnect between the common man and the media, and he uses it fully to his advantage. One of his "survival" instincts.

  98. The most disheartening thing about this piece is how even the so-called "mainstream media" itself does not recognize that to the extent it is biased, it is biased in favor of a Rockefeller type of Republican politics - decent treatment of minorities, protection of voting rights, protection of women's right to make their own reproductive choices, some sort of minimal basic social safety net, general protection of the environment and wildlife without any real engagement of the climate crisis and so forth. The mainstream media, by and large, accepts as true that our military is great and always to be expected without question; that our military adventures are all necessary if not moral and therefore to be supported without real question; that shelter, food, health care, free quality public education through college and a fair minimum wage of $15/hr for all are pipe dreams; and that the climate crisis will somehow get fixed without any aggressive reporting on how bad it is. Really, the "mainstream media" including the NYT is probably bette referred to as the "corporate media". Thus, for 40%-50% or more of my fellow citizens to think the corporate media is biased to the left is sad indeed for people who seek a humane and just country, and, as this article suggests, potentially terrifying.

  99. No one is perfect, and the news media frequently overly magnify some events while ignoring others, or mishandle some stories, but overall I am in awe of journalists and the work they do. We would know almost nothing of the extensive abuses and mismanagement of this administration, for example, without them. They push the other branches of gov't into accountability. As many others have pointed out, they are the first line of defense against propaganda and for democracy.

  100. Since the US congress has so willfully abrogated its responsibilities as counterweight to the president's ill-conceived notions and activities, and the federal courts are now being stuffed with complacently incompetent tools of the administration it is imperative to the survival of our democracy that the news media be allowed and encouraged to continue its unfettered diligence.

  101. There is one simple reason Trump gets away with his attacks on the media; his base eats it up. For this 30-35% of the populace, any fact-based attack on Trump only strengthens their resolve to support him. This perverse, spite-fueled attitude is immune to reason. The Trump base is a lost cause. If the U.S. is to survive as a viable democracy, the remaining population must resolutely oppose the Trump base at the polls. There is no other remedy. The 2018 midterms are a contest of reason vs. chaos. Hopefully enough people realize this and act accordingly.

  102. Comparing Richard Nixon and this president's disdain for the press has two main differences. Nixon was just plain paranoid. He never measured up to John Kennedy in looks or star power. The lad from Camelot had an adoring press. He was the scion of a storied family, a war hero and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Kennedy had youth, charm, vigor and an attractive wife. Kennedy's performance in their 1960 debates wasn't flawless but he came off much better than did Nixon. These televised debates shaped Nixon's public persona for the remainder of his public life. The current president is just plain hostile to the press for personal reasons, many of which he brought upon himself. His personal behavior and outlandish playboy lifestyle were always grist for the gossip mill. His very public spats with his former spouses and unethical business dealings didn't help him either. His need for positive attention and a public spotlight seemed to outweigh good judgment. He fed off his outrageous style of campaigning and attracted throngs to his rallies, not for his policies or ideas but for his intemperate remarks attacking political correctness and decent civic comportment. He was a hero the the disaffected people who felt that America left them behind. Nixon and the 45th share one thing in common. Both were and are deeply insecure men who fault the press for their low approval ratings. Nixon was beset by an inferiority complex while this president's vanity and ego are simply out of control.

  103. When I was young, there were only three channels on TV, and three nightly news programs. NBC (featured the peacock), CBS (Walter Cronkite), and ABC. Then Public Broadcasting popped up, and that made four. Families subscribed either to Time or Newsweek to read about the most important developments of the prior week. Newsweek was slightly more daring than Time. And now? National mainstream network news shows are propped up by pharmaceutical ads and weighed down by feel-good “human interest” stories because only old people, who remember Cronkite, are watching ... and that audience (we) requires (require) medicines and entertainment. Everybody settles in with the sources of news that confirm what he or she already thinks. Rawstory? Slate? Fox? Breitbart? We take shelter in our silos. Donald Trump is an awful threat to our country, an instinctive demagogue and practiced lazy cheater. He has been supported by Republicans, accustomed to playing “constitutional hardball,” who generally find poor people, uppity women, immigrants, gays, and African-Americans troublesome. So, as Mr. Edsall explains, Trump does trumpet threats against the free press, but he’s got a big band marching behind him ... amplified by countless Internet sites. And yet I don’t think Trump will win out. So many journalists have worked so hard to discover and analyze his modes of operating, and the habits of his greedy Cabinet, family, and personal advisors. Serious journalists are, now, my heroes.

  104. My silo shelter is MSNBC. Thank you Chris, Rachel, Lawrence and Brian.

  105. You sure don't know anything about Republicans, and how they think. Your smear of them, inaccurate, is noted. No wonder you find comfort in the NY Times.

  106. I find myself more and more these days wishing for the return of someone like Phil Donahue who helped deconstruct the complicated issues of the day. I watched him with my mother when I came home from school.

  107. There might yet be a government clampdown on all but Fox. Even if the Gorsuch/Thomas/Roberts Court were to rule against it (after the 7 or 8 years it would take via the usual lengthy legal process to be adjudicated), the Courts have no army ... the Trump regime (yes, he'll still be in the White House) would just ignore any rulings. Think it can't happen in the US? Think again.

  108. The serious press needs to focus on the important issues, not the most recent shiny object. When a provocative tweet must be covered, provide context, analysis, and a meta-level perspective. E.g., what is the timing of this and similar tweets? Is there evidence to support hypotheses that tweets are purposeful distractions, or that they are more unhinged on the weekends? Edsall is particularly good at this type of analysis.

  109. One thing is clear - an active, free press is a fundamental difference between advanced, functioning democracy and autocracy. It really comes down to that, and when a people choose to succumb to demagogues who denigrate the press for their own cynical purposes they are finished as a democracy. Whether we are finished will be decided in November. But for a chilling look at how truly bad things are overall, read Andrew Marantz's "Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet" in the current issue of The New Yorker. Most of us, myself very much included, have no idea of the forces of evil that are now afoot. This truly is a war.

  110. The Fourth Estate is necessary for a Democracy, Journalists ask the tough questions, who, what, where, why and how. Journalists most often seek the truth among the cacophony. Society demands the truth and Journalists provide the answers. Just look at the autocratic societies that shun and defame the press, is that a role model we wish to follow, certainly not. The examples you cite also make the argument stronger for a free press, Agnew, Nixon, Goldwater all liars and dangerous to our Nation. Of course, Trump fits very easily into this list.

  111. Let me suggest what the press in general, the Times in particular, can do to improve its standing and, indeed, help the country. There has been a trend in the media to regard news as entertainment. There is a focus on personalities and the political horse race at the expense of policy data and facts. Some titillating issue is seized upon, and we are subject to endless articles and speculation, but we never are told what is really going on. The 2016 election was a sorry example of this. Over and over we were treated to tidbits about Trump and his outrageous statements. The great bulk of coverage on Clinton consisted of what amounted to her treatment of two eMails which were improperly marked confidential, the lowest security level. Another example was the health care care debate. There was actually realms of data on the effectiveness of various health care systems available, but it was rarely if ever presented. We heard about the "gang of six" and how Senator X might vote, but not about comparisons between systems from various countries. A conference with 7,000 people in Princeton to support Medicare for All that featured many experts was not reported, but a meeting of 350 Tea Party supporters on the same. day in NH was front page news. When I complained about this to Kevin Sack, a great Times reporter, he wrote back, "Single payer is not news."

  112. If His assault on Democracy and systematic undermining of the government is not impeachable, then what is? As a Californian I resent his unprecedented attacks on our state. Save it for Russia.

  113. Professional, non-partisan journalism is a relatively late development. From the birth of the republic through the end of the nineteenth century, the press was avowedly partisan. Everyone knew it, and as a result no one ever thought of screaming "fake news!" Open partisanship probably made it easier for readers to sift through the often polemical accounts of the politics of the day for nuggets of truth. The ascendancy of talk radio and Fox News marks the return of the partisan press. Only today, because of the rise of professional journalism in the twentieth century, the partisan press must pretend to be non-partisan. And so they "prove" their journalistic bona fides to their audience by exposing the (falsely alleged) partisan bias of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, their victims, who still adhere to the norms of professional journalism, cannot mount an effective defense without appearing to confirm the charges leveled against them. Joseph Heller called this a Catch-22. Clearly, someone needs to come to the defense of the mainstream media. But who? The most effective champions would be the people least likely to rise to the occasion: members of Trump's own party who understand the damage done to the republic when a free press comes under attack. Their silence should be a clarion call to the rest of us to speak out, not in partisan rancor but in defense of the First Amendment.

  114. As a former journalist, I am constantly disappointed by the unwillingness of the American press to stand up fearlessly to politicans, especially Trump. Yesterday, I watched the Governor of South Carolina claim that the young demonstrators from schools all over the country -- children, he called them -- were being used and manipulated by people with a left wing agenda. Any journalist worth his salt would have followed up with "And who are these people, governor?" It was refreshing to see the Dutch press insisting on answers from the new US ambassador, when he refused to deal with some of his outlandish statements before being nominated. "This is the Netherlands" a journalist told him. 'You have to answer our questions. " I deeply miss Chris HItchens, who feared no man and who could think on his feet. Even the Times interviews with Trumpseem like softball, with Trump continuing his fountain of lies and fabrications. I don't think the press is doing itself any favors by being supine in front of power.

  115. You have provided a superb definition of access journalism. Inconvenient facts must be ignored, profits depend on it.

  116. "Republicans on the far right...have been willing to engage in constitutional hardball [more than Democrats] because [they believe]...something has gone fundamentally awry in the republic...and that unpatriotic liberals have allowed or caused it to happen." This explanation completely ignores the real reason today's Republicans play hardball (a euphemism that minimizes such direct attacks against our Constitution and democracy as refusing for over a year to vote on Obama's nomination to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court). Namely that Republicans represent the interests of wealth and power who own an ever-increasing majority of America's wealth, but are a minority in numbers. The vast majority of Americans are not wealthy and if they all voted for what was in their own best interests Republicans know they would rarely win elections, and thus employ the superior wealth of their patrons to con a huge number of voters through the dissemination of propaganda, i.e., fake news, by ownership of major media outlets such as Fox, and by the exploitation of wedge issues, a part of a grand divide and conquer strategy to turn voters against voters, so we don't see that we share many more important interests in common, and that as long as we remain divided and don't work together the wealthy and powerful will own our government.

  117. Another valuable essay from Mr. Edsall. This one ties in directly with an earlier one dealing with studies showing the high degree of authoritarianism among many Americans. This attribute coexists with a tendency to fear change, those who are different, and those who reject group think. There is also a reliance on myth and scapegoating. Then we have the Orwellian embrace of doublethink: Praise "freedom of the press" while simultaneously applauding Trump's desire to allow libel suits against journalists. Anger and a desire to be entertained feed being misinformed and an incoherent mixing of praising a leader who thrives on chaos while promising a return to order, discipline, and the 1950s.

  118. There is a real dilemma. If the press is perceived as being biased toward democrats, it could also be seen as being biased toward those that do more research, more thinking, more democratic principles. If thoughtful people are drawn to journalism careers, they are bound to reach more thoughtful conclusions. So they should instead go with those that are generally more emotional and 'shoot from the hip' types rather than relying on metrics and evidence?

  119. So far trumps mouth has attacked the press but his predecessor actually took action using the justice department and took the press to trial and convictions. When we get to that point you might have a legitimate complaint but there was not much belly aching then so perhaps not?

  120. I fully support freedom of the press, but wonder if too many journalists are contributing to the "biased" narrative by becoming regular contributors to what many voters perceive as a biased network: MSNBC. I watch this network frequently, although - even as a progressive myself - I sometimes think the hosts overstate the threats of whatever the GOP and Donald Trump are up to and are not sufficiently critical of progressives and the Dems. Enlisting print journalists in what are sometimes strongly progressive-good/conservative-bad discussions - even if the journalists themselves say nothing that supports that basic tenet - may contribute to the perception that WaPo, NYTimes, and other major print news media are indeed biased.

  121. The fundamental problem is that we forget the adage that the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. For too many Americans eternal viligance consists of listening to or reading sound bites, or watching news on television that provides only the most cursory discussion of complicated issues. This subjects the media to legitimate criticism for not presenting a full discussion of opposing viewpoints. In turn, this enables demagogues like Trump to demonize the members of the media who emphasizes his many shortcomings. This then leads to threats to democracy itself. The bottom line is that the public itself is the root of the problem. If we don't take the responsibilities that come with democracy seriously, we don't deserve democracy.

  122. Thank you for your usual well reaserched and thorough editorial. I must say though that I'm amazed that you appear to truly believe the times and other main stream outlets are at all objective when it comes to this administration. You could clearly see when certain factions were blinded by hatred for president Obama or HRC. Your blind antipathy also makes your criticism much less effective. A truly objective account of president Trumps behavior and policies would serve you better.

  123. Ok then. Please draw a line down the middle and across the top of a piece of paper , list his pros and cons as you see it and submit it here. Let's have this conversation the old Ben Franklin way.

  124. @Brian: The NYT is clearly an establishment vehicle which, in itself is not a cause for concern. It prefers Rockefeller Republicans over Goldwater Republicans, e.g., Hillary to Bernie and to Trump. Yes, Trump has seen the light and become the spokesperson of the far right. The Times prefers the not-so-far right. The antipathy shown Trump has to do with his threat to the establishment, not because the paper has a "liberal" outlook; the NYT has a "neoliberal" outlook. A few far left noisemakers, e.g., Michelle Goldberg, have been offered op-ed space, not because the NYT subscribes to their diatribes, but because of the anti-Trump content of their essays. Caveat emptor.

  125. Gee Brian. The problem is Trump. He has broken every norm of common decency and presidential decorum. Objective repoirting on Trump only seems like an attack on him. I will leave it at one example. Would you terminate someone's employment by tweet? Would you like your own employment terminated by tweet? TLGK

  126. Trump is America. Why do Liberals not get it? He acts like all "real" Americans. New York City is not America. Those "real" Americans that elected Trump go to The City for vacation, it is a "show" to them. They don't 'believe' NYC is America. It has non-white people. It can't be America in their minds.

  127. Isn't the issue even more fundamental than freedom of the press? Isn't it the respect for truth, for objective fact? Our president is a man whose entire life has been built on lies, hyperbole and misdirection--and who openly admits it, indeed even flaunts it. Just yesterday the Post reported on a fundraising speech he made to donors in Missouri in which he blithely detailed his repeated claims to Justin Trudeau--a fellow head of state!--that the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada when "I didn't even know. . . . I had no idea." And the Times and others have repeatedly reported Trump's philosophy of open disregard of the truth: "Just tell them what you want. They will believe what you say." That being so, defending press freedom may simply play into this president's hands--framing the narrative as Trump vs. the press (or the "legacy" or "mainstream" media if you will) and inviting critical thinkers to take one side and Trump supporters (who either believe what he says or whose interests are served in saying so) to take the other. Wouldn't the country be better off if we stepped back from yet another us-versus-them fight and simply waged war on behalf of the truth, something more on the order of CNN's apples-and-bananas "Facts Matter" campaign? Maybe our school kids could carry the banner for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They seem to be far better than the grownups in communicating matters of fundamental importance.

  128. I shudder to think how Nixon would have abused social media. But then again, if he had these tools and given us a chance to work out how to handle the awkwardness of governing by Twitter, we would not be dealing with the biggest twit on Twitter today, Donald Trump.

  129. Trump delights in diminishing American individuals. Groups of Americans systematically get slapped around. Trashing vanguard institutions is Trump’s means to bring down broad swaths of America. Trump is a tool of his own mind, and he’s in sync with Putin. Get him them OUT.

  130. Since day one the press/media has been unfair to the president, his wife, family etc. Just like a bunch of bullies you thought you would wear him out. Well you did not. He survived and thrived. We have a tax cut (and yes we got back $ ) unlike the lies we would not. We have a vibrant economy along with many regulations overturned to get business bustling again after Obama tried to ruin the country.

  131. Do you truly believe Obama "tried to ruin the country?" Is it "bullying" to publish direct quotes by a person? Does the simple act of disagreeing with your policy positions make someone an enemy of the United States? This comment makes me really sad. I believe that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and yes, even Donald Trump wake up every morning convinced that they have the best ideas to help this nation. I just think their ideas are in error. But the loudest "conservatives" on the internet seem not to think the reverse. Does this attitude truly reflect the feelings of a wide swath of people? How can we heal this divide?

  132. Jan, the very fact that you believe the nonsense you just posted shows that the REAL fake news outlets have done their job well. Obama created this bustling economy. And while you may get back $ on your tax cut, you'll lose $ big in the amount of services that will have to be cut because the government has no money ... or else they will borrow big and we taxpayers will be left holding the tab. The Fat Cats are definitely winning under the Trump administration. We "common folks" are being robbed and are completely deluded if we believe any differently.

  133. You got Russiagate.....you got a weakened health insurance system, you have potential cuts to SS and Medicare. You got lame idiots parading around the WH with no qualifications or security clearance, you got arguments with allies.... You got nothing.......tax cuts for a year or two, then nada, zero, zip.....nuttin'. Lock these GOP clowns up.....

  134. The corporate press got him elected, legitimizing a truth challenged buffoon in the service of clicks, eyeballs and ultimately profits. And Trump continues to provide all that and much more. Well done!

  135. In bashing the press, "covfefe" is crazy like a Fox, and his Friends. Media sunlight is the best disinfectant, but sometimes you need to vote in November to scrub those hard-to-reach grifters.

  136. The irony of course, is that the press will soon be dancing on the political grave of our president and his minions by simply and valiantly, continuing to shine a light on their misdeeds and utter incompetence.

  137. Donald Trump is a garden variety whiner. He can dish out scorn and criticism, but he can't take it. Clearly he's the most juvenile president in United States history.

  138. Let's all just realize that this presidency is an aberration in every sense: electorally, temperamentally, and historically. We could compare it to Chauncey Gardiner in Jerzy Kozinski's classic, "Being There," except that anti-hero was not an petty, ignorant, crass, liar. But the circumstances and level of curiosity is about the same. The sooner we get through it - the better, God knows, and I do predict he will not last until 2020. He claim "fake" all he wants: those indictments will not be fake, Donald.

  139. The lack of self-reflection in this opinion piece is astonishing. There is not a single opinion writer at the NY Times who writes favorably about President Trump and/or the Republicans. Even David Brooks - the token Republican on the slate of opinion writers - consistently bashes the President. The phrase "fake news" does not entirely encompass the problem. The correct phrase is "slanted news". Which in turn makes it seem "fake" - and entirely deserving of the scathing approach of President Trump.

  140. Here's the problem, though: You guys actually do get it wrong quite often. I don't just mean factual mistakes- that is bound to happen every once in awhile and is perfectly understandable. I am talking about everything from not revealing that Sarah Palin's teenage daughter was pregnant, to over abundance of reporting om the plight of the Palestinians, to not showing wounded or killed in action American solders, to the types of questions you choose to ask or not ask, to the stories (and comments) your editors choose to publish and not publish. Journalists, after all, are only human and it is inevitable that their own bias will creep into their work. It is only natural for someone like Unstable Trump and Co. to take advantage of that reality.

  141. Trump and all with something to hide are allergic to sunshine. The press provides that sunshine and transparency...just the facts folks....

  142. D. Trump is selfish and dangerous. The Republican Party does all it can to get away with murder; really, because the Republican's Party costs people their health and their lives.

  143. Lies lies make the soul sick. Thanks for this critique.

  144. Trump doesn’t want to be free from the press. He thrives on criticizing and correcting reportage he doesn’t like. He loves the flattery he gets from those loyal to him and his coterie of sycophants when he sets the record straight with his cockemamy version of the truth. The press gives Trump a way to nurture his vanity and belligerence. It would be best to ignore him, but as president there’s no way.

  145. It's just the opposite, he doesn't want freedom from the press, he wants 24/7 attention focused on him, or it's boring and he's a nobody. All his acting out is to gain attention from the press, and it does not matter whether the attention is positive or negative. Doesn't take a psychiatrist to figure this guy out. His emotional needs are like a small boy.

  146. Trump is losing his battle with the press, as more sunlight illuminates his heinous activities, with each cabinet member's departure, each turn of Mueller's great vice of justice. Great kudos to the free press for courageously pushing onward into the depths of this fetid swamp.

  147. Of course Trump is afraid of a free press. He fears being caught in a lie. As many lies as this man has told the American public, it must be difficult to keep track of them. For a man as unfit, as morally corrupt as Donald Trump, for a man who measures other people by their loyalty to his lies, a free press that cannot be controlled must seem like the greatest betrayal of all. Go journalism! Journalism is part of the system of checks and balances in this country. It is a reporter's mandate to tell the truth. News reporting is indeed an imperfect medium, but most reporters try to live up to the standards of that mandate. Trump should be caught out. But for a man as unbalanced as Donald Trump, journalism will always be terrifying.

  148. Trump and his cohorts hate the media because "facts have a liberal bias."

  149. I blame the press, mostly television news people, for getting Trump elected in the first place. From the day he announced in July 2015, with one of the most xenophobic speeches I have ever heard, the media gave Trump countless hours of free television time at the expense of other candidates. Every day after that day if Trump was speaking somewhere all of news outlets ran his terrible bragethons from beginning to end. The more bombastic he sounded they were there to run the whole show from beginning to end at, of course, the expense other candidates. Either the press wanted to see him elected so they would have something to horrify us with for the next 4 years (newspapers such as The NY Times, MSNBC have increased subscription sales or larger viewership) or they thought by showing how bad he is that voters would reject him. The news media should just keep doing the reporting on this horrible excuse for a president but come 2020 the press should focus on giving an even amount of reporting for both sides. The media should not respond to every over the top drivel that pops out of Trumps mouth. As for Trump, I refuse to put president in front of his name, this man admires dictators because he wishes to be one himself. This is dangerous man and I would not put it past him to rig the next election or refuse to leave if he is defeated. Trump is a con man who would have never amounted to anything if not for daddy’s money, same goes for his children.

  150. He would like a freedom from LIES in the press. No doubt.

  151. Where are the voices the of decent Republicans? Why don't they speak in defense of democracy? They are like the ancient Roman senators who refused to stop the abuse of power for their own short sighted gains which led to the destruction of the Roman democracy and the madness of emperors like Caligula and Nero. Our Founding Fathers must be rolling in their graves. Has the GOP no shame? History will not judge them well; they are paving the road for demogogues and dictators and the end of our Republic.

  152. When the President calls the media “the enemy of the people “ and freedom of the press “disgusting” we should all beware...

  153. The Republicans have a greater hatred or distrust because they are still mad about the Pentagon Papers and the role the Post played in uncovering Nixon's various misdeeds. They want some equivalent Democratic misdeed uncovered by the press.

  154. It seems Trump does not have the mental capacity to distinguish news from newsertainment. Unfortunately, neither does his base.

  155. We like bullies, because they're sure of themselves. The folks that promote Trump like his dictatorship style; they're not really fans of democracy. Why? Well, democracy is very hard. When I taught US Government, I'd ask the students if it was difficult to be a good citizen. Of course it is. Very hard; maybe close to impossible, because there are so many issues, so many perspectives, so much to think about & come to conclusions about. Dictatorship makes life easier, at least in that sense. Those that vote single-issue, be that gun laws or abortion laws or something else, they are not good citizens. They talk about one issue or a few because that's easy. Easy way out. But, not good democratic values. Don't say you believe in both. This man Trump is a serial-liar, serial-adulterer, serial-bankrupter, moral vacuum of a guy that buys his way out of Vietnam, says women were his 'war' (on Howard Stern, no less), and the POWs aren't his 'kind' of heroes. He doesn't pay taxes to fund the military, but then acts like he's their best friend. I'm sad to see so many conservative military people vote for this disreputable character. Really, why? He's a traitor that's done all he can to be Putin's buddy: the Communist, billionaire that takes all human rights away from 'his' people? Putin and Trump, a real pair of destructive, heinous humans. The Christian, conservative, evangelical, right call him their's, & the facade of patriotism & spiritualism breaks. We need more Democrats.

  156. I suspect that most Americans -- not just Trump's base -- perceive those who work for my favorite media, the NYT and NPR, as elitist and out of touch, and therefore untrustworthy. Consequently, these and other media are easy targets for Trump and Republicans generally. And, the fact is, NYT and NPR do read and sound like elitist coastal institutions, unaligned with the wants, interests, and emotions of most Americans. The solution is, become aligned with them -- then become perceived as being more aligned with Americans than the truly elitist and untrustworthy Trump administration and its stooges. This is easier done by NPR, which has affiliates nationwide and has the deepest penetration among all media in both coastal and non-coastal America. NPR could truly become America's radio network by carrying news from its affiliates as a major part of its reporting -- news from Minot, Nashville, Dallas, Fairbanks, etc. fully integrated with reports from Washington and foreign offices. Harder for the NYT, which is, after all, a New York institution, and its reporting from the heartland often carries the strong odor of a hurried visit to a museum of oddities and freakishness, with the poor reporter aching to return to the comforts of the city as soon as possible. Instead, the institution should make the NYT a local paper and apply its skills to being the American Time providing high-level journalism sourced in all of America. Do that, and you'll win your war.

  157. Yeah, well, I would love freedom from Trump but what can you do ?

  158. Vote the GOP out in November. They are his enablers.

  159. Trump is a dictator in waiting. Like those of the past and today, Putin, Assad, Duterte, he believes the media is stopping him from gaining more control. Absolute control. And that the only good ones in media are the ones that support his lies like Fox. Trump as we can see hires only those that will parrot his ideas subjugate themselves to him. Sycophants. He will fire anyone who disagrees with him. If he could he'd shut down all media except Fox. Mind control of the public. Orwell's 1984 is his road map. As a result of Trump trusting just Fox, he has become more paranoid, a contrarian and has a closed mind. This makes him more isolated from reality, witness the statistics he made up with Trudeau. Trump has backed himself into a corner where he trust nobody, and has a bunker mentality. The consequences of this could be inimical to our country.

  160. The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Any threat to silencing the work of journalists is a threat we should all see as a road to demagoguery and dictatorship. However, as the press is driven more and more by profits, we face an equally frightening reality that our news is increasingly being driven by consumers of the news through our well-monitored “clicks.” In the age of reality TV and human’s natural desire for drama, the media, even the most respected sources of news like the New York Times and the Washington Post, were sucked into the vortex of all things Trump long before he became president. The attention all the media gave to his birther movement, driven by readers’ interest in the story, was the beginning of his political popularity that continued throughout the 2016 campaign. He is a force of interest that even for the most sophisticated and serious citizen finds hard to resist. He continues to use the media for his own best interest by creating distraction after distraction that casts a long and dark shadow on the disastrous happenings this administration that will take a generation to repair. The First Amendment cannot protect us from ourselves as long as consumers of the news show more interest in the cult of personality of Donald Trump and less in the good journalism that is reporting on how this administration is threatening our democracy through its policies and practices. The ball, at least for now, is in our court.

  161. Putting heavy tariffs on newsprint continues the attack on the press from another angle.

  162. The vast majority of the American people don’t believe a word that comes out of Trump’s mouth or fingers.

  163. This article and many others like it tend to miss the real problem. The press is merely a reflection of those who read what they write. I would suggest you look into the learning experiences and conditions that lead to the failure of people being able to accept and demand any kind of balanced news coverage. I think that would give us insight into what really needs some work.

  164. The media, like almost everything else, are polluted by the dollar--and the lack of it. Who, for example, decides what is good art? Panels of artists? No! Galleries and their wealthy clients! Sad thing about Trump is that he makes run-of-the-mill media look good; he makes Fox look sick. Good thing about Trump is that he has given the giants of the media, NYT and WaPo a shot of journalistic steroids.

  165. He seeks to weaken an institution that serves to constrain the abusive exercise of executive authority. Well that high and mighty claim could be rewritten '...as he seeks to highlight the quite obvious bias of a left leaning press.' '...has initiated a gladiatorial contest pitting the principle of freedom of the press against a principle of his own invention:, could be rewritten as '...he has set out to highlight that there is no freedom or fairness in a press corps who universally castigate someone who does not dance to their partisan political tune. Trump's war of words against the Press. (OK he is not Shakespeare, who is? scan the NYT's comments page including mine) seeks to highlight an institution that serves to undermine a democratically elected President with a critical onslaught that borders on the demented panic of a religious sect. I could go on and reconstruct every sentence in this article, but hey,call me indolent, life is just too short.

  166. Can we please bring back the Fairness Clause?

  167. There have been more negative news stories by both the media and print sources about President Trump and his family than any other president before him. Jimmy Carter announced this fact and he should know as he was also a victim of their tirades. Mr. Trump has had more bias reports about him than one person should have to endure. No one he rants and raves against the press. Who wouldn't? Do people care about his hairstyle or that his wife wears high heels while boarding a plane? Who cares if he drinks a dozen diet cokes or prefers McDonalds hamburgers. This is really beyond nitpicking and ridiculous. No wonder people are fed up and are tuning out the news. There is no fairness or honesty left anymore. Why don't you report the positive outcomes that he has achieved since his presidency? He has created jobs and passed one of the largest tax cuts ever. People are seeing more money in their paychecks which they are putting back into our economy by spending again. You report day after day only nasty and snarky reports about his presidency. Maybe he is partly to blame for his occasional outbursts but it must infuriate him to have to read these lies and half truths. Anyone would be calling out the press and their fake news habits. People are really optimistic again and happy with their lives. Report on this good news for a change. Liberal news organizations and progressives ridicule Fox News but they do report both sides of an issue. This is why they are # one.

  168. This one is tough. We have a leader who is thin skinned and vain. When he feels unjustly attacked by anyone or anything, he broods over how to not only get even but how to win in such a manner that the perceived opposition is seen to lose "bigly". I'm no psychiatrist but I would guess this world view of "winners" and "losers" has been directing Trump's thoughts and actions for a long time. Vacuous adulation is what our leader craves. Anything less is considered by him to be a direct affront no matter who or what the "other" may be. Those affronts require total retribution. This attitude is a life-lesson he has taken to heart because he believes it works for him. At age 71 I don't see much in the way of change in his attitudes, words, or behavior. This one is tough.

  169. Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post: “We’re not at war; we’re at work.” Sadly, this is a lie. The liberal media are no longer "at work." They have become the propaganda wing of the "resistance." As long as they put themselves in that role, they sacrifice their integrity and their credibility. They (not Trump) are doing this to themselves.

  170. Hook, line, and sinker.

  171. Trump and his GOP lackeys hate the free press since they the ones reporting on this regime’s corruption, incompetence, and terrible policies. Luckily the press is doing its job and America is all the better for it, since the truth on the Trump kakistocracy/kleptocracy enables us to be fully informed voters.

  172. Start from the premise that the right wing sees everything as an existential threat. Then it becomes clear why they feel that everyone not 100% with them is a mortal foe. The irony, of course, is that "Faux News" is our equivalent of Pravda and Izvestia in the former Soviet Union. And, as the old line went, "There is no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia."

  173. That sounds about right. The same people who are obsessed with "peace through strength" and ostentatious displays of force – be it from the military, the police, or even in their own daily lives – routinely prove themselves to be quite terrified of everything around them. If it didn't have such dire implications for our national politics, this hypocrisy would be an object for pity or even mockery, but given the stakes the real feeling is more like resentment: why should we have to go along for the ride as these folks tilt at every windmill on the horizon (including Big Bad Wind Power, come to think of it)?

  174. The most effective tool the press has is honesty and their readers. The greatest damage to a politician is a perp walk followed by a walk in an orange jumpsuit through a steel door. The press has to keep up accurate reporting of Republican criminal acts with the facts. Do not drop stories. Keep reporting truth. Justice will come with a change in power back to the center.

  175. Anyone who gets news from only one source (social media, cable, print, etc.) is ill informed.

  176. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. All dictators and aspirants to the title HATE the press, dirty deeds are best done in the dark. Without freedom of the Press, our other rights mean nothing. And they know it. My sincere Thank you and appreciation to the NYT, let the sun shine.

  177. I disagree with the title of this opinion. Donald Trump thrives on the media and doesn't want to see it go away. In a perverse way it satisfies the deepest narcissistic instincts of his personality. From the day he rode down the elevator to announce his candidacy on June 16th, 2015 he has appeared on television every single day whether it be CNN, MSNBC or Fox. The only interruptions in his coverage have been mass shootings, hurricanes, floods, fires and the atrocities of genocide. These real news stories come and go while Trump continues to take top billing every night. He loves it and when he doesn't, he exercises his right to freedom of speech by calling out the media as fake news and making it his mouthpiece for dangerous propaganda. And every day the media and press enable him to do so.

  178. Well everyone "knows" the truth has a liberal bias.

  179. With regards to the press, Trump wants to have his cake and eat it too. He's quite happy to provide the constant salacious fodder that draws the press like a moth to a flame, using any and all media outlets as one big free advertizing agency in service to his agenda, at the same time that he wants to chew and spit out any and all media outlets that dare to scrutinize him, criticize him, contradict him, shine light on the truth when he makes false statements, etc. In short, he wants to manipulate the press to his advantage all the while he wants to use it as a scapegoat, undermining it as an independent source of truth that can act as a check on his power. Only, that's not how things work in a democracy and a free society. Fishkin and Pozen are quite right that the Republicans have been engaging in "assymetric constitutional hardball," and at an ever increasing rate, as they have become a conduit to power for the extreme right; but let's call it for what it really is - using lip service to the Constitution as a political tool only when it furthers their agenda, while being perfectly willing to undermine Constitituonal rights, including freedom of the press, and duck Constitutional responsibilities when it serves their agenda. Donald Trump is no abberation; he is the face of the Republican Party unmasked. So long as they are in control of Congress and the presidency, both, press freedom will be unprotected and undermined. It's up to America to change that in November.