CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter led off his "Reliable Sources" newsletter for Thursday with a new "Protect Press Freedom" campaign from two journalist groups, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Naturally, this is an effort to combat media criticism from President Trump.
But leading with the words "People's Right to Know" is fascinating, since they're all complaining about Donald Trump Jr. sharing the name of the alleged whistleblower. Don't we have a right to know? Stelter's newsletter highlighted how Fox News personnel have been told not to share this name.
CBS has apparently fired an employee who leaked material about how ABC sat on the Epstein story. Don't we have a right to know? Stelter's latest newsletter didn't have a word on Epstein etc.
The accompanying video -- to be blunt -- suggests without evidence that the news is about to vanish from your screens. This is, to use the press's words, a "conspiracy theory." At the start, a liberal-sounding report is censored mid-sentence: "A recent government report on prescription drug pricing points to corporate mal -- [static]."
NARRATOR: Freedom of the press is about your right to know... It's about your right to be informed. Your right to access all types of information that keeps us free as a nation.
Today there are real threats to press freedom and your right to know about the world around us. Some threats are obvious, some are easy to miss. But they put our way of life at risk.
We must defend against all of these threats, no matter what kind of news is important to you. We must protect our right to know before it's too late.
President Trump isn't mentioned by name, in part because, unlike all of their wild talk about Trump's impending "authoritarian" moves, there is no crackdown on press freedom. There's just harsh public criticism -- just as the media routinely offer harsh public criticism of Trump and his constantly impending doom and call it "journalism."
Conservatives would find several of these lines fascinating. First, socialist reporters who adore Bernie or Lizzie or The Squad maybe shouldn't lecture us about "keeping us free as a nation" and freedom as "our way of life"? (See Mark Levin's book Unfreedom of the Press.)
Second, they sound phony on the "no matter what kind of news is important to you" -- we've made a point that the national media suppresses information that would be interpreted as helping Republicans. So the newscasts spike record-low unemployment and new stock-market highs, for example. They dismiss investigations into the origins of the Russia investigation as "Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff," and ignore it. Liz Warren can lie about being fired for being pregnant in the Seventies and a New York Times reporter sits on the public records he found.
Third, the apparent firing of the Epstein/Veritas whistleblower demonstrates that the media can be quite aggressive in dismissing or suppressing information about its own internal manipulations, and in this case, suppressing information about how it was suppressing information.
The Protect Press Freedom campaign "will educate Americans about the threats to press freedom, reinforce the values underpinning the free press, and celebrate the diverse journalism that keeps the public informed," the groups said. And: "Through video, radio, digital, print, and social media assets, the campaign communicates a simple, powerful truth: In order to be free, we must be informed."
The partners who have agreed to run PSAs and ads include: CBS, CNN, NBC, Reuters, Facebook, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Sinclair, NPR, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Barron's, McClatchy, Scripps, Gannett/USA Today Network, and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
This is fascinating. Didn't Twitter ban "issue ads," and can't freedom of the press (implying Trump is a threat) be defined as an "issue"?