Fighting free press is dangerous
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President Donald Trump’s vilification of the media as “the enemy of the American people” is dangerous.
Perhaps the most important role of the media is to hold those in positions of authority accountable and push for transparency. The primary enemy of the democratic process is a government that lurks in the shadows and evades accountability. Truth is a necessary pillar of our government.
A government cannot be by the people, for the people and of the people when the very people who seek access to it are demonized.
Carl Bernstein, the reporter who helped uncover the Watergate scandal that eventually led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, expressed fears over the state of the press under President Trump.
“We are into terrible authoritarian tendencies,” Bernstein told CNN.
The American people have a history of demanding transparency and accountability from their leaders. America was founded on the idea that a government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. The job of the press is no less than bringing about the informed consent of the people. And when it fails to do that, it is the job of the people to hold the media accountable.
On the college level, it is important for students to hold their leaders accountable. Attending college is an increasingly costly investment and students deserve transparency in return for their dollars.
The digital age has sent the media into a frenzy. Sweeping cuts have been the norm, and local outlets have taken the brunt of the blow. Town Hall meetings, board meetings, crime briefings, these all take time. But they’re important. Those meetings are where the important policies that affect us all are decided.