Not partisan issue

Today, I read an article in the NYT “Globe rallies newspapers to protect free press.” The article described the Boston Globe’s call for newspapers across the country to respond in unison on Aug. 16 to the presidents unprecedented attack on the first amendment calling any news outlet that disagrees with him the “Enemy of the People.”

Freedom of the press is the bedrock of our constitution. The press is often referred to as “the Fourth Estate” for good reason. It is the responsibility and obligation of the press to identify and report on government corruption and abuses of power, a critical element in the concept of division of power necessary for a functioning democracy. It is no coincidence that the Washington Post added the phrase “Democracy Dies in Darkness” below its masthead in February, 2017 only a month after the president swore to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. When he uses terms like “Fake News” and calls any media outlet that writes an unflattering story about him or his administration the “enemy of the people” the president is using a well warn technique of propaganda used by autocratic despots like Stalin, Lenin, and Hitler. Never before in our history has a president of the USA used such a phrase to describe those with opposing ideas.

On Aug. 2, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked the president’s press secretary to refute those words as his daughter did and say that the press is not the enemy of the people. She declined to do so and went on to list a host of personal public abuses she has faced as a representative of the president. As shameful as those episodes may be they do not threaten fundamental principles of our democracy. The presidents words are not just hurtful. They represent an existential threat to our form of government.

This should not be a partisan issue.