Has Trump Crossed a Line on Freedom of the Press?

PolitiChicks.com Donald Trump hates the media. That is no secret. In what may be his most frightening words yet, the presidential hopeful launched into a tirade against the media at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday night, in which Trump essentially vowed to take down freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Donald Trump has gained much attention for his bold challenges to the status quo and politics as usual. He has tapped into the frustration that many Americans share about the broken promises and ineptitude of Washington politics. People tend to either love him or hate him. His disdain for the media often gains Trump passionate cheers from audiences.

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But has he gone too far this time?

A number of journalists seem to think so. From CNN to the Washington Post to Breitbart and PolitiChicks, media outlets are blasting the news of Trump’s alarming position against the First Amendment. Though at first glance, he may seem to have some points, the ramifications of what he is suggesting are staggering.

In this rant against the media, he gives us a glimpse into what he really thinks about freedom of the press and freedom of speech:

If I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.

And, one of the things I’m going to do, and this is only going to make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope I do, and we’re certainly leading, is I’m going to open up our libel laws, so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.

We’re going to open up those libel laws, so that when the New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money, instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.

You see, with me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxo9b6PazkA

There are already laws in place against libel and slander. But Donald Trump says he wants to extend those laws to punish anyone who writes any “negative” articles. This would undercut the very fabric of the Freedom of the Press and the purposes envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

The right to disagree with someone in government or in authority is a fundamental American right, and it is secured by the First Amendment. The impact of laws such as Trump is suggesting would be utterly chilling to free speech and liberty. While libel is considered a criminal act, publishing something negative is not. Donald Trump’s proposal, which was surprisingly met with cheers, crosses a line that would lead to tyranny.

A politician has an affair – that is negative. Would a newspaper be able to be sued for reporting the affair? Could they be sued for reporting on a governmental agency taking away citizens’ constitutional right to due process? What if they report the negative effect that an elected official’s policies have had on the economy? The list is endless.

There is a clear distinction between publishing libel and publishing negative information. Limits such as Donald Trump proposes could be devastating to the most basic freedoms enjoyed by American citizens.

 

Terri LaPoint

Alabama PolitiChick Terri LaPoint is a passionate advocate for families and for pro-life issues. She writes for Medical Kidnap, a division of Health Impact News, working to reunite families and expose injustice that is destroying families all across America. She is a contributing author to the book, Medical Kidnapping: A Threat to Every Family in America. Terri is a regular guest on blogtalk radio programs which advocate for families, and she loves speaking to audiences of any size. Her first article to be published was entitled "Birth and Freedom" in Midwifery Today, which encourages and inspires women to fight for the Constitutional and God-given rights they already have. She was part of the early Tea Parties in Trussville, Alabama, and was involved with the Trust Birth movement from its beginning. Terri holds a B.S. in Cultural Anthropology/World Missions, with minors in Bible/Theology and Behavioral Science. After college, she trained as a midwife and breastfeeding educator. This broad experience has helped equip her for the work that she does now as a voice for so many who are voiceless. She has enjoyed being an extra in several movies. She is a mom with four wonderful children, and has been married to the love of her life for more than 25 years. She loves Jesus with all her heart, and she dares to believe that America is still worth fighting for. Follow Terri on Facebook and on Twitter: @TerriLaPoint

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