President Donald Trump is a habitual offender of the “Big Lie,” believing that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will come to believe it.
When he describes the free press as the “enemy of the American people” and “unbelievable liars,” these are not terms used in democracies; they are used in totalitarian states.
Stalin used the term “enemy of the people” to imprison and execute millions of his opponents.
Hitler targeted Jews as the “enemy of the German people” in order to make the extermination of 6 million Jews possible. Hitler also referred to the press as “lügenpresse,” meaning the “lying press.” That Trump uses language reminiscent of Stalin and Hitler, two of the worse tyrants in living memory, and uses it to attack the First Amendment, is incredulous.
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Trump denigrates our intelligence agencies and democratic institutions as not trustworthy, while groveling for approval, like a dog begging for treats, from a tyrant like Vladimir Putin. His lack of knowledge and seeming indifference to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights seriously questions his loyalty to protect them.
The role of the press is not to genuflect before the president as a flattering mouthpiece. The role of a free press is to hold him and other powerful people accountable.
Because Trump communicates using false statements, conspiracy theories, and racial slurs, it is imperative that we maintain a free press and a citizenry able to recognize these dangers, lest we become a nation where “truth is a liability and ignorance a virtue.”
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