What a Time to be a Journalist

As student journalists, we are entering a field in a state of war, and the more the battles go unnoticed by the American people, the harder the war will be to win.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” Well, now we all have a front row seat to the execution of our liberty.

CNN White House reporter, Jim Acosta, had his press credentials stripped after a contentious interaction with Pres. Trump during a press conference on Wednesday. Trump lost his temper and called Acosta a “terrible” person, while a White House aide walked over and tried to take the microphone from Acosta’s hands. Later that day, Acosta’s press credentials were revoked, and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would like you to believe this is a huge coincidence.  

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration,” said Sanders in a statement. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young women just trying to do her job as White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

Yes, it would be unacceptable if that had actually happened. Acosta never once laid his hands on the young woman. Instead, he stepped back and said “excuse me” before continuing to push for his questions.

The truth is that our president would like journalists to be seen and not heard.

“This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better,” CNN said in a statement. “Jim Acosta has our full support.”

A free press is one of the only checks between a tyrannical government and the rights of its people. Without the press, Trump has full and unregulated power to send this country into a dark time. Unless you want an all-mighty King Trump, you need to fight back. The press is not the enemy of the people.

Trump and his administration have taken their stance on vilifying the press too far. We are past the point of cries of “fake news” and we’ve progressed to a full-on assault on the press, at least the ones who are speaking the truth about this administration. In revoking Acosta’s press credentials, Trump has just taken a big step toward an authoritarian regime.

Journalists deserve better. The American people deserve better. Stop letting your president mock your freedoms.