Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his breathtaking ignorance of what the U.S. Constitution guarantees in the treatment of media in this country, which is that government mustn’t interfere with the practice of a “free press.”
However, he’s at it again, saying that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should” investigate the New York Times over its decision to publish an anonymous op-ed essay from someone inside the Trump administration. The mystery writer has alleged that the president is out of control and that a “resistance movement” within the administration is pushing back against the president, seeking to curb his more, um, impulsive instincts.
Trump is enraged over the anonymity aspect. He is trying to find out who did it. Hmm, does the term “witch hunt” apply?
Moreover, he wants the Department of Justice to pursue the New York Times over what he calls a “national security” concern.
It’s a reach, Mr. President.
The First Amendment specifically and explicitly protects a “free press” from government interference, intimidation, bullying or coercion. It’s in there. Honest. I’ve read it. So have you.
Trump also has said he is considering some sort of punitive action against the Times. “I’m looking at that right now. It only happened yesterday,” he said.
C’mon, Mr. President! You can’t expect to succeed in bullying a major American newspaper into doing your bidding. I get that he’s angry that someone possibly within his inner circle has spilled the beans on the goings-on in the White House. I expect him to learn the identity of the whistleblower.
However, the notion of punishing the New York Times for giving someone — even someone close to the levers of power — a forum to express their grievance against the federal government goes way beyond what’s acceptable.
Read the Constitution, Mr. President. Start with the First Amendment. You’ll see what it says.