There is no disputing that President Donald Trump and the liberal media have a rather contentious relationship, as the president routinely calls out the media for their hostile bias and “fake news” while the media incessantly hit him with slanted or outright dishonest attacks.
Of course, the media and Democrats generally see no problems with Trump is covered, and are thus horrified and object loudly that the president’s criticism of the media is some sort of dictatorial assault on the First Amendment-protected freedom of the press.
That viewpoint was recently espoused on social media by Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell, only for him to be corrected by Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, with a brief history lesson thrown in.
It started with a tweet from CNN reporter Marshall Cohen on recent laws signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin that would crack down with severe punishments on journalists and media figures who spread “fake news” or show “disrespect” toward government officials.
NEW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two new laws that impose strict prohibitions on Internet activities and speech. They allow Russian authorities to jail or fine people who spread "fake news" or if they "disrespect" government officials online. (h/t @maryilyushina)
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) March 18, 2019
Swalwell shared that tweet, adding, “I will do everything physically possible — march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind — to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe @realDonaldTrump will try. And I know you’re with me. Not on our watch.”
I will do everything physically possible — march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind — to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe @realDonaldTrump will try. And I know you’re with me. Not on our watch. https://t.co/OVfKdVGQXc
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 18, 2019
The obvious implication from Swalwell was that Trump was similarly on the verge of attempting to essentially criminalize the media’s constitutionally protected right to report critically on the president and his administration.
Enter Crenshaw, who shared Swalwell’s tweet and added some enlightening commentary of his own about the purported attack on the First Amendment.
“Agree. Defend #1A,” he tweeted. “Truth is, we’ve been worried ever since:
“1. Obama ACTUALLY put journalists under investigation (Not threatened on Twitter. Actually did it)
“2. Dems have been urging limits to speech on social media platforms.
“That said, I’d march with ya.”
Agree. Defend #1A. Truth is, we’ve been worried ever since:
1. Obama ACTUALLY put journalists under investigation (Not threatened on Twitter. Actually did it)
2. Dems have been urging limits to speech on social media platforms.
That said, I’d march with ya. https://t.co/Qjy3hKpl7p
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) March 18, 2019
As Crenshaw pointed out, the extent to which Trump has battled the media has largely been confined to snarky complaints and empty threats on social media, whereas his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, quietly opened federal investigations into reporters for Fox News and The Associated Press who had reported critically on various aspects of his administration. (In fact, he tried to shut out Fox News altogether.)
Likewise, it is not Trump but Democrats who have been speaking endlessly in recent months and years about the dangers of free speech — from perspectives they don’t agree with — and the need for it to be censored and strictly regulated, if not banished entirely from the public square.
Crenshaw, a Navy SEAL turned congressman, is a veritable rock star in the Republican Party who has been viewed as most likely to be a prominent party leader in the future, and his cool demeanor and knowledgeable retorts to absurd outbursts like Swalwell’s have garnered him that reputation.
Free speech and the First Amendment are indeed under attack, but the president isn’t leading that assault — it’s leftists and Democrats.
Author: Ben Marquis