Freedom of the press is crucial to the functioning of our democracy. The President's recent attacks on CNN are the latest and most grotesque in a long line of comments designed to undermine public faith in the free press and bolster support for propaganda disguised as news (such as Fox News).
The Show Me Voters Alliance calls on our elected officials to strongly reject these attacks and begin taking action to protect the press. We will soon be submitting letters to Senator Blunt, Senator McCaskill, Representative Lacy Clay, Representative Ann Wagner and Governor Greitens asking them to stand up for the freedom of the press in both statement and action.
We are particularly concerned about what may happen to freedom of the press in the case of a major international incident, which could be used as an excuse to deny First Amendment protections to journalists, either by labeling them criminal "leakers" or attempting use libel laws to silence them.
Learn more about the dangers posed to the free press in the USA from the Committee to Project Journalists.
A few other people have had something to say about the importance of the free press to American democracy:
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” — Benjamin Franklin, 1722
“There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a free press.” — Samuel Adams, 1768
"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them." — Thomas Jefferson
“There is a terrific disadvantage not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily, to an administration. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn’t write it, and even though we disapprove, there still isn’t any doubt that we couldn’t do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.” — John F. Kennedy, 1962
“Since the founding of this nation, freedom of the press has been a fundamental tenet of American life. There is no more essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our continued success in what the founding fathers called our ‘noble experiment’ in self-government.’” — Ronald Reagan, 1983
(Quotes thanks to Robert Reich.)