Democracy’s cornerstone: a free press | Letter

Every time Trump proclaims something as “fake news,” he is attacking truth and the free press. If anyone has a problem with the truth, it’s the Republican President.

The Washington Post counted 492 false/misleading Trump-claims in his first hundred days in office, averaging 4.9 false-claims daily. By Nov. 13, Trump had 1,628 false/misleading statements: nine daily the last month.

Despite this, about 80 percent of Republicans approve of the President. Trump lied about Obama’s birthplace for six years, before he was president, but Trump’s “believers” voted for him anyway. Did they think he would respect the truth once he had power? One poll found 34 percent of all Americans support Trump, but only 24 percent believe him. Apparently, 10 percent know he’s untruthful and don’t care?

Trump’s falsehoods threaten our nation because democracy dies when citizens fall victim to an authoritarian’s propaganda. By replacing truth with misinformation, attacking our free press for accurate reporting, Trump is trying to remake America in Russia’s image, where Putin controls the press.

Furthermore, Trump’s untruths threaten our national security. Someday our safety, or our allies’ safety, may depend on trusting his word. Remember the boy who cried wolf?

Stanton Samenow, author of “Inside the Criminal Mind,” says that criminals operate on the principal that “Saying it, makes it so.” Trump’s unrepentant attacks, on the press and facts, says more about his character than reality.

Without a free press, “democracy dies in darkness.” When Trump cries “fake news,” he means turn off the light.

Roger Ledbetter


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