Whenever President Trump criticizes the press, whether in tweet or in a statement, I see a chorus of commentators rising to condemn him for his attack on freedom of the press. I would grant that it is fair to argue that Trump’s statements may be inappropriate, obnoxious, counter-productive, distracting or unpresidential, but is it an attack on freedom of the press?
Freedom of the press is the right of the press to say pretty much anything it wants. For the government to attack freedom of the press, it must attempt to stop someone from publishing or it must punish someone for their publications by throwing them in jail or taking some other harsh measure. Hurting their feelings doesn’t count. Just as the press has the constitutional right to criticize the president, the president has the constitutional right to criticize the press.
This reminds me of a story that my parents used to tell about me when I was a little boy. I have no memory of this, but I trust my parents that this is true. I had been in a fight, and my father asked me who started the fight. I said, “He did. He hit me back!” The press is whining because the president hit them back.
In short, these statements that Trump is attacking the freedom of the press are flat out ridiculous. This should be obvious whether you love Trump or whether you hate Trump. Will the media ever realize when they make such absurd statements, they lose credibility for whatever valid criticisms they might make? I doubt it.