Trump’s war on mainstream media is no secret. His disdain for the establishment media can be seen in the angry tweets, the verbal attacks on journalists, the handpicking of which media outlets can attend a news briefing, the declaration of “alternative facts” and “fake news.” and the blatant denial of confirmed statistics.
This war with the media that the Trump administration is fighting has surpassed pettiness and unprofessionalism. It has become a threat to the rights Americans hold irreplaceable and precious above all others: those guaranteed to us in our Constitution. The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
Trump’s public condemnation of the mainstream media sets a precedent for disrespect towards the ideals outlined in the Constitution, the ones on which our country was built. “But so what?” one may argue, “he can’t take away the news’s right to say what they want, and it’s his equal right to say whatever bad things he wants about the news.” The most simple counterargument to this is that Trump has, in some twisted and convoluted way, been elected to America’s chief executive office. So While Trump may not be able to directly control what a news station is saying, he has the platform to discredit it as well as limit its exposure to information for its audience.When taking the oath of office, he swore to “…to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect, and defend, the Constitution of the United States.”
When seen shouting down reporters with obnoxious rhetoric, Trump is showing the American people that he does not value the document that lays out their fundamental rights; rather, he may not have read the document at all, and he certainly does not respect it either way.
So herein lies the slippery slope. Trump’s attacks on the news is already dangerous enough, but to limit certain media outlet’s access to information is a disservice to the members of his nation who use that outlet, lowering their ability to stay educated (a trend he apparently decided to keep going with Betsy Devos’ appointment).
But beyond the news media, Trump’s blatant disregard for principles laid down in what is literally the first section of the document with which American life starts and ends has big-picture implications. We have already seen within this first month the ease with which our dear POTUS will sign legislation and decrees to restrict the rights of groups of Americans, from Muslim immigrants to transgender teens. The question is, where will he stop? His obvious lack of compassion for his constituents coupled with a blatant disregard for the most basic of ideas written in the Constitution is a dangerous combination.
One cannot help but appreciate the cruel irony of the situation. The Trump administration and the Republican Congress would sooner publicly express support for Obamacare than say anything that would threaten the integrity of the Constitution’s Second Amendment. This picking and choosing of which parts of our Constitution to protect reflects a pattern of erratic and dangerous behavior by the government that should concern all Americans.