What You’re Reading Isn’t Safe

Previously published by The Campus

The very thing you hold in your hands rests in an ideology that posits the words of journalistically bound individuals as not only vital but worthy of defense.

The very words you’re reading are existent due solely to the persistence of those who chose daily to take a risk and allow writers to create freely in a land free only to some.

The very conceptions that shape your day to

day experiences rest on the press’s ability to

provide tactful, impactful, and truthful reporting.

The very people you love are reliant on the inherent power held by humans who dedicate their lives to putting the ills of apathetic discrimination on paper.

The very cornerstone of accountability is being threatened, and its enemies are in your own backyard.

On Tuesday, October 2, Jamal Khashoggi, a distinguished Saudi dissident journalist who lived in Virginia and wrote for The Washington Post, was beheaded and dismembered, according to New York Times reporting on details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official. Dismally, Khashoggi’s death is a typifying example of a system silencing the press.

In response to Khashoggi’s passing, Donald Trump, once again showing his truest colors, tweeted “For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!” As if the immaturity were not reason enough to find the nearest polling location, the direct attack of the first amendment’s restrictions on “prohibiting the free exercise” of the press should cause the decent person’s smile to droop downward.

Trump’s assault on the press is threefold.

One:

To delegitimize the press, discredit them at every turn.

Case in point:

“When the media – driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome – reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk! Very unpatriotic!” Tweeted on July 29, 2018.

Two:

To silence the press, speak louder.

Case in point:

USING ALL CAPS WHEN REFERRING TO NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WHO PUBLISH CONTENT CONTRARY TO WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTS ITS PEOPLE TO KNOW.

Three:

To polarize the press, flatter and destroy.

Case in point:

In the first year of presidency, give appearances on Fox News three times as often as CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and CBS combined.

When examining Trump’s rhetorical strategies, it is imperative to remember that he is not in all accounts acting out of contempt, pride, and offense. Occasionally, his employment of the aforementioned steps is a crafted game plan aimed at sidelining journalists. One that, without a calculated response, puts this publication and ones like it across the world at risk.

As students, scholars, professors, administrators, and global citizens, we – this particular pronoun is indispensable here – must be vigilant in noticing Trump’s methodology and responding in a way that does our institution, and the diverse set of students it holds, justice.

Thus, our defense of the press must be threefold as well.

One:

To legitimize the press, be an informed reader.

Case in Point:

It is easy to shove false information into awaiting sponges, harder to manipulate a filter. As consumers, we have an amazing opportunity to demand truth, and in such, legitimacy.

Two:

To advocate the press, give a shit.

Case in Point:

Avoid the propensity to stop tuning in and flipping pages. I know, it’s a lot. A lot a lot. But, just as the sound a tree makes eventually dies down, so do the voices of journalists. I can only scream into the void for so long before I feel like the silencing and caps lock are working.

Three:

To further the press, read, write, and voice.

Case in Point:

Free journalism hinges on the antecedent right in the first amendment: Freedom of speech. Our words are power; read others, write yours, and voice the concerns of the collective.

The very thing you hold in your hands is under attack by those in your own backyard. Yet, and an important yet at that, this very thing is vital, persistent, tactful, powerful and ready for your reading, writing, and voicing.

Design by Loretta Violante

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