How about by Presidential Executive Order? Or just behavior?
I’m still recoiling from the murders of five employees of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis including a feature reporter, Rob Hiaasen. Hiaasen’s career began at the Palm Beach Post, our local paper. We all feel a personal connection. Writers there remember him and one, Howard Goodman, has written the definitive article on the incident: The targeting of journalists has to end
As Representative Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said on CNN “This president plays with fire. He has deliberately demonized the press and journalists. To call them the enemy of the people is a remarkable statement from the head of our government. And that puts every journalist at risk. Now, he didn’t do what happened yesterday in Annapolis, but he certainly helped create a climate … where it’s fair game to go after the press. And where does that end? And that’s what I worry about, that sooner or later it leads to this kind of tragedy.”
This is essentially reiterated in Goodman’s article: “No one has inflamed the present atmosphere more than he, this man who occupies the highest office in our land. He has set a tone which he feeds at every rally and almost every day on Twitter.”
“I am not blaming him for Thursday’s tragedy in Annapolis. But I do charge him with injecting a sense of hatred into the soul of this nation that journalists do not deserve and which — in a country with more guns than people — may all too easily turn into bloodshed.”
However, is it no wonder? Consider what has come before:
"Never forget. The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it." -- Richard Nixon to his national security adviser Henry Kissinger in a taped 1972 Oval Office conversation
“I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” --- Donald J. Trump
“The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work. You’re the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.” --- Stephen Bannon
And the award for the most disingenuous goes to Kellyanne Conway: “You [the press] always want to go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”
We have looked and found the heart of darkness.
This is where the lines converge, a 2nd amendment run amuck and the perpetual debasing of the 1st amendment, lambasting the press. Until we can get our priorities straight, expect more gun violence and subsequent “thoughts and prayers.”
Journalists must be protected.
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate, one in February and the other in May. The Journalist Protection Act would make it a federal crime of certain attacks on those reporting the news. They’ve merely been “referred to committees on the Judiciary”:
Sponsor: Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15] (Introduced 02/05/2018)
Committees: House - Judiciary
Latest Action: House - 02/05/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Sponsor: Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] (Introduced 05/24/2018)
Committees: Senate - Judiciary
Latest Action: Senate - 05/24/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Which will pass first, this Act or a Trump appointment to the Supreme Court? As our 1st amendment is undermined, and any action on the banning assault weapons unlikely, what kind of a nation are we becoming?
For an answer, the cautionary words of Mahatma Gandhi, captured in art by Jani Leinonen, “Your Beliefs” ---
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.