Trump’s tread on the press

Meg Friel, Editor in Chief

I recently stumbled upon an article involving the New York Times and Donald Trump. With my inability to escape my fake-tanned friend from every news article I’ve read in the past few months, I was surprised to see this one sharing a new scandal that I think is receiving an underwhelming amount of attention.

The article explains Trump’s failed initiative to sue the New York Times for publishing a story about his harassment involving two young women who claimed he tried touching them inappropriately. The article touches on a few comments Trump’s been shamed for making recently, specifically involving grabbing a certain you-know-what. Trump threatened to sue the Times over the article being “reckless, defamatory, and constituting libel per se.” I hate to be another voice only preaching to the choir about Trump, but I feel my voice is no longer a shout into the void, especially when contributing to the frustrations of this specific case.

As a young journalist, this case brings out a fear that’s been creeping up on me since the campaign began. With Trump constantly pushing at the press, trying to silence our voices and even going to the extent of kicking reporters out of campaign events, I’m frightened by the difficulty that journalists may face with Trump as president.

As for Maine, our mini-Trump Governor Paul LePage uses the same anti-press methods. After having a nasty voicemail leaked, LePage swore to never speak to the press again, claiming he wanted everything in writing in order to avoid the “gotcha!” moments; however, has since continued to speak at press conferences. With press surrounding every second of politics, it’s easy to put the blame on the media, but it’s even easier to turn around and use them to their advantage for good publicity. The second Trump or LePage cries “bad press” is the same second a newspaper releases an article with quotes spoken straight from the horse’s mouth; whichever press they receive is a result of their own words and actions. Journalists are not here to glorify candidates or to demoralize them just as well; we are here simply to speak the truth.

In a conversation I had with a friend, about this case specifically, he confessed, “I’m worried that if Trump gets elected, our First Amendment rights will be taken away.” While there’s decades of history behind our First Amendment rights, so difficult to just dismiss them with a new president, it’s easy to let my mind wander as to what my future looks like as a reporter. There’s a significant part of me that dreads having to report on the circus of Trump that constantly re-appears in nearly every headline I see. But there’s also a significant part of me that hopes that I’ll still have the right to report on these things with Trump as president without receiving the constant backlash that most dignified reporters have faced time and time again throughout this campaign.

You may ask why I write about a topic that seems so redundant; the constant fight over Trump’s ignorance that never ceases to stop. The truth is, even for those who never read the news, never bother to check the headlines, don’t want to stick their nose in politics – First Amendment rights are important, and the freedom of press and the right we have to share our voices are just as important. The importance of freedom of the press becomes more prevalent every day as we cling onto the last hope that Trump won’t make it any further than he’s already come, or God help us all.