Dallas Voice joins with more than 300 newspapers around the country today to condemn President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that journalists are “the enemy of the people.” The truth is that Trump’s words are not those of a true leader concerned with the well-being of his country and its citizens.
They are instead the words of a tyrant whose first order of business is to control the masses by controlling the media.
A free press has been the cornerstone of American freedom. That’s why it’s specifically enumerated in the First Amendment and is the only profession protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize,” Winston Churchill said. “It is the most dangerous foe of tyranny.”
“We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech, because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth,” Barack Obama said.
A free press isn’t just a liberal idea: “As a conservative who believes in limited government, I believe that the only check on government power in real time is a free and independent press,” Vice President Mike Pence said.
But leaders of the free world aren’t the only ones who agree that a free press is the cornerstone of democracy. So do tyrants.
“The first thing dictators do is finish free press, to establish censorship,” said Fidel Castro. “There is no doubt that a free press is the first enemy of dictatorship.”
“The essence of the free press is the reliable, reasonable and moral nature of freedom,” Karl Marx said.
Is there “fake news” out there today? Yes, of course. And it is coming from those who are urging you to believe what they tell you and not what you can see with your very own eyes, not what you can plainly see to be true.
Through our almost 35 years of reporting on the LGBT community in Dallas here at Dallas Voice, we’ve worked hard to get it right. We’ve advocated for equality, and some have criticized us for not being “unbiased.” We have also presented opposing views, and we have been criticized for that, too.
But we believe that when people have a full understanding of an issue, they make better decisions. We try to present the full story.
Sometimes we get it right. Like after the raid on the Rainbow Lounge. Those originally on the other side of the issue — Fort Worth’s chief of police and TABC’s executive director — told us we got it right.
Sometimes we get it wrong, and when we do, we’ll pull the story or correct it.
No one is perfect. But we’re always striving to give our readers a better understanding of the issues and what’s going on in our community. We feel sure that most other real media outlets — “real” is the operative word, here, and we all know some that don’t fit that description — do the same.
What we here at Dallas Voice are not— what all real journalists are not — is “an enemy of the people.” The true “enemy of the people” are those in power who would squash the free press in order to squash our country and destroy our democracy by controlling the its people by controlling the information to which they have access.
Thank you to the Boston Globe for taking the lead in this initiative.
— David Taffet