Horowitz: July 4th - Let’s Celebrate Our Free Press
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
A free press remains one of the bedrocks of our democracy. Despite its imperfections and well-documented shortcomings, media still supplies the information that we citizens need to hold elected officials accountable, make informed decisions, and actively and constructively participate in local, state and national government. In his famous dissent in Abrams v. United States, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes introduced the idea of the marketplace of ideas—a marketplace undergirded by a free press. Holmes wrote, “… the ultimate good desired is best reached by the free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.”
Taking a moment this July 4th to touch on the contribution a free press makes to the health of our democracy and to propelling Holmes notion of a marketplace of ideas is especially necessary in the wake of President Trump’s all-out assault on media outlets, along with individual reporters and television anchors, who are critical of him or his Administration. Instead of responding to coverage he believes is unfair or inaccurate with specific facts and coherent arguments, Trump paints with a broad brush, preferring to hurl insults and charges of “Fake News” at any one with whom he disagrees. He is working to delegitimize broad swaths of the media, attempting to discredit the marketplace of ideas rather than truly competing in it.
Senator Ben Sasse(R-NE) aptly described Trump’s approach as weaponizing the current distrust of the media. This past weekend on CNN’s State of the Union, Sasse said, “There's an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain about that and trying to weaponize distrust. The First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment, and you don't get to separate the freedoms that are in there."
President Trump and his spokespeople’s persistent efforts to brand the media as “dishonest” and “fake news can fairly be labeled as theater of the absurd given that the President and his Administration have gained a well-earned reputation for dishonesty due to the record number of reckless falsehoods they attempt to peddle on a daily basis. An overwhelming majority of the American public considers the President to be dishonest and when given a choice of believing the media or the President, most Americans choose the media.
I am confident that our press will withstand and even thrive in the wake of President Trump’s all out and decidedly un-presidential attacks. In many ways Trump, despite his efforts to label the media-or at least the outlets he perceives as unfriendly-- as “enemies of the people” has been good for the so-called mainstream media with ratings up and circulation increasing. Reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post are breaking excellent investigative story after story as Trump’s clumsy and thuggish attempts to intimidate only backfire. This renewed vibrancy of our media and its demonstrated daily success in continuing to " speak truth to power” gives us plenty to celebrate this Independence Day.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island
Related Slideshow: 10 July 4 Parades & Firework Displays You Must See in Central MA - 2017
July 1 -4
Old Sturbridge's celebration starts on July 1 and goes right through July 4.
Celebrate Independence day with family and friends at the weekend celebration.
Citizens will have a chance to partake in many different events throughout the weekend including farmyard games, 19th-century baseball and more.
Putnam's Star Spangled Celebration begins at 1 a.m. on July 1 and will include food, live music with the Billy Pilgrim Band, cars, sidewalk sales and much more.
Following the celebration, grab a chair and get ready for the Putnam fireworks at dusk.
PHOTO: Billy Pilgrim Band Facebook
Shrewsbury will host their 4th of July celebration on Independence Day at Dean Park.
The celebration will include food, live music, and DJs as well as inflatable amusements, clowns, and face painting. A decorated bike and doll carriage parade will begin at 12:30 p.m.
The celebration goes from noon to 4 p.m. and is FREE.
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