It’s no secret that the current administration sees the media — at least those who don’t lavish praise and recognize how great things are going — as the enemy of the people, as well as the state. And, at least in the back of their collective mind, there are undoubtedly some who are reconsidering what they write or say or air.
Look, I get it. I was never that political before this election. I certainly never posted to social media to the degree I now do. And there are those in my family who think I should just shut up or at least dial it back, especially since I’m looking for a job. They’re afraid my rantings will work against me. They may have a point.
So it was with a great deal of fear and sadness that I read this piece from The New York Times the other day: “In Trump Era, Censorship May Start in the Newsroom.”
This is how the muzzling starts: not with a boot on your neck, but with the fear of one that runs so deep that you muzzle yourself.
Maybe it’s the story you decide against doing because it’s liable to provoke a press-bullying president to put the power of his office behind his attempt to destroy your reputation by falsely calling your journalism “fake.”
Maybe it’s the line you hold back from your script or your article because it could trigger a federal leak investigation into you and your sources (so, yeah, jail).
Or, maybe it’s the commentary you spike because you’re a publicly supported news channel and you worry it will cost your station its federal financing.
Or, maybe it’s the re-posting of sentiments like this.
The article, written by Jim Rutenberg, concludes, “In a week in which Congress is calling for a leak investigation into stories in The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN that led to Michael T. Flynn’s forced resignation as national security adviser, heroism is what’s called for. Hopefully there’s enough of it to go around.”