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‘Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets’

by Lorenzo Burgio

Non-conservative media outlets were barred from entering the White House press briefing last Friday because President Donald Trump considered them “enemies of the people.”

The media outlets that did not make the cut were CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, the BBC, the Los Angeles Times and Politico. ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX were all allowed to enter.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer chose not to use the podium to conduct the briefing, but instead held an informal gathering with the selected news outlets.

These actions are simply unacceptable. The First Amendment guarantees citizens of the country to a free press. It is fundamental for a democracy to allow all media outlets, whether or not they lean left or right, into White House briefings.

There should not and cannot be a specific agenda when dealing with the public and the information they are presented about government actions. If there is an agenda held by the government regarding the press, it is not a democracy.

Allowing all news outlets into briefings provides the public with enough information from diverse sources to use in conjunction with other information and reporting from those organizations, to formulate their own opinion.

It is every citizen’s right to choose what news outlets they use to inform themselves. It is unethical and immoral for a government administration to dictate what outlets are publicizing what information.

This needs to be handled with urgency and caution. Whether the reasoning for these actions are because these news outlets “have been too mean to the president,” as Sean Spicer said, or due to specific agendas and information that can only be shared with some, it is un-American and unethical.

The manner in which news outlets are being handled at the White House is a threat to the nation’s liberty, right to be informed and the words of the Founding Fathers.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of press, and that cannot be limited without being lost,” said Thomas Jefferson.

This idea needs to be at the forefront of every citizen’s mind, regarding this situation. These actions are only causing the public to be ill-informed.

It did not seem like Trump was thinking of the importance of a free press when conducting this action, but rather was likely preoccupied with the idea of Napoléon Bonaparte that, “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”