With subsequent boycotting of journalism outlets and the barring of reputable sources by the current White House administration, the power of the press has never been more evident.
The foundation of the United States government is built upon the Constitution, which is often referred to as the supreme law of the land; its underlying principles include our individual rights and liberties, enumerated within the Bill of Rights.
Most famous of all, perhaps, is the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The freedom of the press is a chief tool of the democratic republic we live in because it allows the people not only to exercise our right to free speech but to express ourselves through the publication and spread of public information.
An important principle of the Constitution is the separation of powers between the branches of government: the Legislative, which creates the law, the Executive, which implements the law, and the Judiciary, which interprets the law (and has been working hard since the first travel ban executive order in late January).
It is often thought that there is a fourth branch in that system of checks & balances: The Press, the voice of the people, meant to disseminate public information for the purpose of constitutional expression and accountability.
It should then be alarming when a president does not believe in the Constitution they swore to uphold.
Undoubtedly, it is the responsibility of the press to spread factual truth and hold our representatives accountable. It is irresponsible for the press to make a headline out of Trump’s nonsensical tweets. It is unfortunate when people put down the newspaper in protest of this type of reporting, even though it is practiced as a form of holding the press accountable. Worse still, it is deeply disturbing for the President of the United States to call reputable sources “fake news” while his administration consistently tells lies and writes them off as “alternative facts” and allows white supremacist bloggers to have White House press credentials.
However, it should be remembered that it was not those publications who normalized his language; it was the major news and media outlets who were complicit in spreading his appeal to the masses. After all, the machine requires multiple working parts to run.
As journalists, we have a unique responsibility to do right by the community we serve. We will continue to report the truth and call out everything. We will tell the stories of our people because our existence is resistance. We can and will do everything to disrupt that machine, and we thank you for trusting and supporting our publication.
“Al servicio de la comunidad Latinx del condado de Humboldt”