This morning Mr. Trump tweeted "The fake news media is the opposition party."
This afternoon, in a historic turn, the U.S. Senate unanimously stood up to the president’s attacks against the press and adopted a resolution affirming that the “press is not the enemy of the people.”
The resolution introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) recites that the First Amendment to the Constitution protects the press from government control and suppression and that the freedom of the press has always been recognized as integral to the democratic foundations of the United States. The resolution cites Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ronald Reagan, and Justice Kennedy on the utmost importance of the freedom of press to our liberty.
The Resolution states:
(1) the Senate—
(A) affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people;
(B) reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and
(C) condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States; and
(2) it is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.
The Authors Guild applauds the Senate for taking this important bipartisan action at a time when threats to democracy are becoming far too near.
As Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘‘Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.’’
Blanket attacks on writers and journalists, as a class, are not a partisan issue; they are attacks on democracy itself. And, as advocates for authors and the first amendment rights of writers, we cannot let these attacks go unanswered.
We are not the people’s enemies. We are the eyes and ears of the people. And we are the people’s memory.