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Our first responsibility: Free speech always needs defending

November 14. 2016 7:16PM

We’re pleased to see so many of our colleagues standing up for the First Amendment.

What took them so long?

After nearly eight years with an administration that lied to the press and the public, doctored news conference transcripts, used the IRS to harass conservative organizations, and repeatedly pushed to eliminate First Amendment protections for corporations, liberal media organizations have rediscovered a commitment to free speech.

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan says “Our First Amendment test is here,” as if the election of Donald J. Trump represents a unique threat to the freedom of the press.

Trump is not the first or last politician to run against the press. Trump owes his election to the wall-to-wall campaign coverage, yet he encouraged his rally audiences to ridicule the traveling press corps. Some did so in obscene and threatening ways. Trump has said he would “open up libel laws,” which are fortunately controlled by states, and not the President.

We will fight for free speech under the Trump administration, just as we have for years. Our responsibility to promote transparency and accountability in government doesn’t wax and wane with partisan control of the White House.

Our Publisher will speak on freedom of the press Thursday evening at the 14th Annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Awards in Manchester.

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