Citing the Founders as champions of the press may not hold up under scrutiny

The Las Vegas Sun joined with an estimated 200 other newspapers today to collude in an attack on President Trump for attacking the press with an editorial under the headline: “Take it from the Founding Fathers: Journalists are Public Ally No. 1.”

The editorialist pontificates: “For Trump to suggest these professionals are un-American is highly offensive. These are individuals who believe passionately that well-informed citizens are the lifeblood of our democracy and that the media’s role is to provide the information those citizens need. You also won’t find a group that is more committed to protecting First Amendment freedoms and other liberties.”

There are several references to the Founders.

I wonder what the paper would say about someone who said: “I deplore … the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them …”

Or: “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.”

Or: “As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers.”

Those are the words of Founder Thomas Jefferson.

And don’t forget that newspaper editors were arrested during the John Adams administration for sedition.

And pay no heed to the fact Thomas Paine, who once praised George Washington, at the end of his presidency wrote: “Monopolies of every kind marked your administration almost in the moment of its commencement. The lands obtained by the revolution were lavished upon partisans; the interests of the disbanded soldier was sold to the speculator; injustice was acted under the pretence of faith; and the chief of the army became the patron of the fraud.”

More reality on this topic can be found in the book “Infamous Scribblers” by Eric Burns.

2 comments on “Citing the Founders as champions of the press may not hold up under scrutiny

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for the history lesson, a subject that is no longer being taught in our schools and universities and rarely referenced by Editors or Editorial Boards..

    It seems in many news outlets today, Jefferson’s words ring true as they did in the 1700’s. Information that is not true or is slanted is not news, it is propaganda.

    For a bunch of newspaper editors uniting to editorialize against criticism of the news media is nothing more than a self righteous and pious attempt to stifle criticism against their own transgressions.

    In the words of Big Daddy: ” What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it …Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?. There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity… You can smell it. It smells like death.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bunch of crap. Jefferson makes statements about the journalism of his day and the quotes are trotted out as of they apply today to a group of editors that call out a nominal human being currently holding the highest elected office in the country who used the bully pulpit to call the press the enemy of the people and a former newsman writes to condemn them?

    This is definitely a cult. If instead of calling the press the enemy, he had merely said that all blacks in the country should be shot, (first amendment rights Huh) and the editors had all risen up and condemned that, I guess that would be equally reprehensible in the eyes of the far right wing eh?

    You guys man.

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