John McCain Defends the Free Press in a New Op-Ed on the Day of Trump's "Fake News Awards"

John McCain Defends the Free Press in a New Op-Ed on the Day of Trump's "Fake News Awards"

So today was to be the day that the reality TV host-in-chief went back to what he actually knows and put on a wacky show for the cameras, as he announces the “winners” of the “Fake News Award.”

You know, because as president of our nation, Trump has no other issues more pressing than demonizing the free press.

I’ve raised my concerns about Trump’s treatment of the press multiple times. I think it’s reckless, at best, insidious at worst.

I absolutely believe Trump’s goal is to close out any dissenting viewpoints, in order to create a “safe space,” state-run media bubble, where no one hears or reads negative views about him. All that is filtered out and all that’s left are the sycophants and bobbleheads of Fox News and Gateway Pundit.

Exiting Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is scheduled to give a speech on the Senate floor today about the danger of Trump’s attacks on the media.

Trump loyalists have attacked the text of the speech, as it uses Communist dictator Joseph Stalin’s treatment of journalists as a point of comparison.

Well, let’s see… Stalin kept a tight lid on any news that wasn’t worshipful of him. He used willing media as propaganda to push the notion of himself as a loving, powerful “father” of the nation.

The fact that we have a First Amendment that limits how far Trump can take his control of the media does not negate the fact that he seems to share Stalin’s view of how journalists should be controlled.

I promise you – repeal the First Amendment today, and Jim Acosta would be in a federal prison by tomorrow.

To that point, another Arizona senator, John McCain, has stepped up to give support to Flake, with an op-ed in the Washington Post, chastising Trump for his childish, destructive attacks on the media.

McCain explained that former President Ronald Reagan established the Reagan Ronald Reagan Freedom Award after he left office to acknowledge those who have promoted liberty around the world. “Reagan recognized that as leader of the free world, his words carried enormous weight, and he used them to inspire the unprecedented spread of democracy around the world,” McCain wrote in an opinion piece published on the Washington Post website Tuesday evening.

Trump, by comparison, “does not seem to understand that his rhetoric and actions reverberate in the same way,” the senator said. “He has threatened to continue his attempt to discredit the free press by bestowing ‘fake news awards’ upon reporters and news outlets whose coverage he disagrees with. Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy.”

Let’s be honest: Comparing Trump to Reagan puts Trump at a distinct disadvantage. On his best, most controlled day, he couldn’t compete with Reagan on his worst day.

He also has no capability to think beyond his own, selfish wants and needs.

Sure, he may have passed the cognitive health test, but that doesn’t measure emotional health, and Trump is lacking. Obviously.

Pointing out that journalists in other areas of the world are being attacked, imprisoned, or murdered, McCain further stressed the danger of Trump using dumb antics, like his “Fake News Award” to silence and undermine the press.

“Trump’s attempts to undermine the free press also make it more difficult to hold repressive governments accountable,” McCain wrote. “For decades, dissidents and human rights advocates have relied on independent investigations into government corruption to further their fight for freedom. But constant cries of ‘fake news’ undercut this type of reporting and strip activists of one of their most powerful tools of dissent.”

This is where the Trump devotees start convulsing and foaming at the mouth, “McCain is a RHINO!”

And I’ve never understood why they keep bringing up that three-toed, horned herbivore.

Is he a centrist? He absolutely is, and I’ve loathed and openly mocked his policies on numerous occasions.

But is he right?


He further pointed out that the U.S. can’t continue to be defenders of human rights abroad, if attacks on free speech and independent journalism continue at home.

“Ultimately, freedom of information is critical for a democracy to succeed,” he wrote. “We become better, stronger and more effective societies by having an informed and engaged public that pushes policymakers to best represent not only our interests but also our values. Journalists play a major role in the promotion and protection of democracy and our unalienable rights, and they must be able to do their jobs freely. Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom.”

I absolutely get why some view the press negatively. They have shown bias. They have made mistakes in their reporting, sometimes getting the story wrong.

That being said, it is wiser to judge each story individually and on its merits than to attack the media as a whole, just because the reporting is uncomfortable.

So will we be “treated” to Trump’s dumb awards event? We don’t know. No definite schedule has been announced for it, and it’s been downgraded to a “possible” event. My hope, however, is that this thing fades away. It serves no other purpose than to keep the public riled against the media.


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