The Press Is Freer Than It’s Ever Been: New at Reason

Rhetoric aside, the free press is pretty free.

David Harsanyi writes:

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a group alleging to promote press freedom and the rights of journalists, gave President Donald Trump the Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom Award in its Press Oppressors awards this week. The story was giddily retweeted across the liberal Twitterverse because, one imagines, people actually believe it.

Watching Trump and the media slap fight like a couple of sloshed Real Housewives hasn't done wonders for the country, granted. But setting aside the melodrama, and the Kabuki theater, and the symbiotic relationship between the two, the fact is that self-serving complaints about American press freedoms being in peril are unqualified bunk.

For one thing, the very breadth and intensity of the anti-Trump press illustrates there are few inhibitions or no strictures on their freedom of expression. Trump's attacks on journalists—some of them brought on by their own shoddy and partisan behavior—are often unseemly and unhealthy, but it hasn't stopped anyone from engaging, investigating, writing, saying, protesting or sharing their deep thoughts with the entire group—every day, all the time.

That's not to say average Americans don't have plenty of reasons to be worried about the future of free expression. There are forces gathering that aspire to criminalize dissent and punish Americans for their unpopular opinions. In fact, many of the loudest voices crying out about Trump's fascism fully support these efforts, rationalize them or are complicity silent.

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