Freedom trumps bad press

Dear Editor:

In a true story, the son of a World War II veteran asks his old and dying father, “Tell me about the war.” The father requests his war medals, and, saying nothing, shows the son the inscription on the back. “Freedom from Fear and Want. Freedom of Speech and Religion.”

In today’s diverse media, the freedom of speech takes many forms: online newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. Nevertheless, a free press still is central to what defines a democracy. It has been called the “Fourth Estate” and its function is to shine light on our republic’s three branches of power, so that power is not abused.

Past presidents were never completely happy with their news coverage, but they knew the function of the press. Our new President’s vitriolic attacks on the press are unprecedented and show no such understanding. His head advisor Stephen Bannon recently said that the press should “keep its mouth shut.” While thinking about these events, it’s helpful to recall that Americans died defending the “Four Freedoms.”

Bill Lawless