How the Committee to Protect Journalists broke with tradition to protest Trump

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How the Committee to Protect Journalists broke with tradition to protest Trump Empty How the Committee to Protect Journalists broke with tradition to protest Trump

Post by Irn Bru on Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:38 pm

For decades, Sandra Mims Rowe was a rigorous newspaper editor who demanded deep reporting from the journalists she led. Her newsrooms in cities including Norfolk and Portland, Ore., won awards — and respect — because she pushed for greater truths.

So it’s not surprising that Rowe would do the same when an idea surfaced at the Committee to Protect Journalists, where she has been board chairwoman for five years.

The idea: CPJ would make a strong statement against Donald Trump on First Amendment grounds — the kind of thing the organization had never done before. CPJ’s global mission is to try to keep journalists from being jailed or killed; but it hasn’t been involved before in politics.

“What was the evidence that Trump was a threat to press freedom?” she wanted to know. The evidence, delivered in a staff memo, was overwhelming. It made the case that Trump not only despises journalists — “scum,” he calls them, and “corrupt” — but also that he has no understanding or respect for the role they play in our democracy. He has repeatedly stated that he wants to change the laws that allow journalists to do their jobs.

And so, after a board vote, CPJ’s unprecedented statement went public last week.

Measured and restrained, it builds to a powerful conclusion: “This is not about picking sides in an election. This is recognizing that a Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

In an interview, Rowe said that Trump thinks the media exists “only to satisfy his needs and give him publicity.” When journalists hold him accountable or report negative facts, “it must be a coordinated attack on him.”

What finally pushed CPJ to approve a resolution and issue the statement, she said, was the realization that the organization owed this not just to American journalists and citizens but to those around the world.

“We at CPJ use the United States as an example, a beacon to the world,” she said. “With Trump’s rhetoric, it would embolden despots and dictators who are looking for an excuse” to restrict press rights or endanger journalism.

The statement gives an example: “When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked him in December if his admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin was at all tempered by the country’s history of critical journalists being killed, his response was: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

CPJ’s statement wasn’t the only strong defense of the First Amendment to be published last week. After Trump’s attorney demanded that the New York Times retract an article — one that quoted, by name, two women who said that Trump had groped them without their consent — the Times’s newsroom attorney, David McCraw, made a response for the ages.

In equally measured, and equally pointed, terms, he said the paper would do no such thing: “We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”

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Trump is a dangerous lunatic and people should be worried - in fact, they are.

The conservative feels safe and content only if he is assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change, only if he knows that some authority is charged with keeping the change "orderly.

Friedrich Hayek

In other words a bunch of cap-doffers and forelock tuggers.
Irn Bru
Irn Bru
The Tartan terror. Keeper of the royal sporran. Chief Haggis Hunter

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