Sorry, not sorry, Stephen Bannon. We at HollywoodLife.com will not ‘keep our mouth shut’ despite your demand in an interview with the New York Times on Jan. 26. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of the press and we will exercise it.
Donald Trump, 70, swore to protect the Constitution of the United States at his Inauguration on Jan. 21, but already within the first week, he and his top lieutenants, White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, 63, and his press secretary Sean Spicer, 45, have launched a full scale war against the media.
They need to all take a major chill pill and read the Constitution, probably for the first time for Donald Trump, and should particularly focus on Article [I] (Amendment I – freedom of expression and religion). Donald, Stephen, and Sean, it reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech; of right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Got it. All Americans have the right of freedom of speech and we in the media are entitled to freedom of the press. That’s why Stephen Bannon was disturbingly out of line when he told the New York Times that “the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” He continued slamming the free press by calling it “the opposition party.”
For his part, the new president has used multiple opportunities to insult journalists, calling us “among the most dishonest people on Earth.” Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon, who is a former journalist himself – the executive chair of Breitbart News, an extremist right wing media outlet – are attacking the very foundations of democracy itself when they wage war on the free press.
Let’s make no bones about it – America would not be a democratic society without an uncensored free press in which real facts, not “alternative facts,” can be reported, and diverse opinions can be voiced, including those critical of the U.S. President and his policies.
Without a free press and freedom of speech, the U.S. is no longer different from a totalitarian country led by a brutal dictator like Russia or North Korea. Not surprisingly, Donald Trump is having a love affair with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who of course doesn’t doesn’t have a worrisome democratic press to analyze and criticize his every move. Well Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon, and Sean Spicer, if you can’t stand the heat of a free press doing it’s job, then I’m sure Vladimir would welcome you making your homes in Moscow.
We will not shut our mouths and we will continue to call you out on the non-stop lies that you all boldly tell. The press will report the real size of the Inaugural crowd – 250,000 – and the real size of President Obama’s Inaugural audience – 1.8 million – and the real size of the women’s marches across the U.S. on Jan. 21 – 3.3 million. We will report that there is absolutely no evidence that 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants all fraudulently voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and that otherwise, you would have won the popular vote. Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon, just because you repeat these lies, it doesn’t make them true. This isn’t 1984, yet.
When members of the press point out presidential lies or offer critiques of the Trump policies, like building a $60 billion wall along the Mexican border that we can’t afford and don’t need, it doesn’t make us “the opposition party.” No, it means that we are doing our job. Our job is to report on news, to fact check politicians, to express diverse opinions and to also give you a forum to communicate to the American people. A free press has an essential role in a democratic America. And not agreeing with everything that Donald Trump says, does not make us dishonest, or “the opposition party.”
At HollywoodLife, many of our readers are terrified that they will lose the right to make their own reproductive choices. They fear that the fragile environment will be destroyed by unchecked climate change. They worry that minorities and LGBTQ people will be marginalized by the Trump administration. They enjoy the American right of free speech to express their opinions and to criticize Donald Trump’s policies whether it’s banning immigration from several Muslim countries or banning abortion. And we have a right to report their concerns and opinions.
It’s Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon who should keep their mouths shut. Stop lying. Stop trying to stifle the free press and start respecting the Constitution of the United States, that you swore to defend and protect.
Do you agree HollywoodLifers? Do you believe a free press is essential to democracy? Let me know.