Trump vs. Jefferson on freedom of the press

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Gary Galles

“On October 11, President Trump tweeted that fake news was such a threat that someone should look into challenging network licenses on that basis. The next day, (October 12) he doubled down in a follow-up tweet that ‘Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate revoked.’ Unfortunately, his tweet contained some fake news of its own. It implied that networks are licensed, when, in fact, individual stations have broadcast licenses. And the difference implies that Trump’s suggested ‘solution’ is incapable of addressing the problem he sees. Further, his ‘if appropriate’ suggests that there is a situation in which pulling a broadcast license is appropriate for communicating something the President doesn’t like. But if one takes freedoms of speech and the press seriously, and applies those same standards to media that did not exist in our founders’ days, there is never a time to acceptably deny Americans’ freedoms, even for ‘fake news.'” (10/16/17)