As Walter Cronkite said, “Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”
My Halloween costume this year is a political statement. I’ve been shocked and appalled by the number of attacks, both verbally and physically on journalists in the past year and throughout this election cycle, mainly from one side in particular.
There is a reason that freedom of the press is in the first amendment; it is that important.
We can’t let serious presidential candidates mock journalists for their disabilities.
We can’t let candidates refuse press credentials to mainstream, reliable, longstanding investigative journalistic newspapers like The Washington Post, the paper that broke the Watergate scandal.
At the same time, we can’t let them issue credentials to their friends.
We can’t let campaign employees (Lewandowski) assault journalists (from Breitbart no less).
We can’t let journalists (like Amy Goodman) be arrested for inciting and disorderly conduct when she is working as a journalist (and has been for more than 20 years) and covering an important news story that you just don’t like (ND pipeline).
I’m certain that I’ve left out at least half a dozen incidents that I can’t recall at this moment.
This is for every journalist kidnapped while doing their job. At the most recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, President Obama honored Jason Rezaian, journalist released from an Iranian prison. He stated, in part, “This year, we see that courage [Jason Rezaian] in the flesh and it’s a living testament to the very idea of a free press, and a reminder of the rising level of danger, and political intimidation, and physical threats faced by reporters overseas.” [And I would add, here at home as well.]
This is for David Bloom who died doing his job.
This is for Daniel Pearl who was murdered for his religion.
This is for Bob Woodruff who got a traumatic brain injury doing his job.
This is for Spotlight, the Academy Award’s Best Picture for 2016.
This is for every journalist who went to jail for protecting a source.
This is for the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.