Are Our Freedoms Being Threatened?
Will we notice when Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech has gone?
What might the signals be? Could the signs be belittling, demeaning, threatening or attacking the credibility of long standing trusted institutions that fact check their stories? Do charges of “Fake News” intimidate and reduce candor? Could it be restricting some news organizations from political rallies, press conferences or meetings with foreign dignitaries?
How do these behaviors bode for openness and transparency of a Democracy?
Timothy Snyder, a survivor of Hitler’s Germany and author of On Tyranny – Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century writes, “The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century…”
Snyder reminds us to: “Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”
He encourages us to support and trust historic news institutions that are focused on the truth, who vet the accuracy of their stories and require substantiation of their sources before they print or broadcast.
Wikipedia quotes regarding our constitution, “…Freedom of speech is the liberty to speak openly without fear of government restraint…By definition, Freedom of the Press is the right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government.
“The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” —U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in New York Times Co. v. United States (1971)
“Freedom of expression is important for democracy, because it enables the public to participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.”
Attacks on our Press and Speech and supplanting them with “alternative facts” and misinformation are eroding our Democracy?