What Constitution? Trump comes out against Freedom of the Press!

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Feb 28, 2016 4 Comments ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

Blame the media for this one.

By giving Donald Trump free media coverage – as much as 60 percent of TV interviews – they made him into the juggernaut he is. And now Trump is biting the hand that feeds him.

Video: Trump Fort Worth — he will destroy the media trough expanded libel laws

He’s mad at the New York Times over an unfavorable story.

So Trump wants to expand libel laws regarding news. If that happened, then Trump would be able to use his billions to sue media outlets over legitimate stories. Even if he lost most of the cases, he could run up a newspaper’s legal bills and the result would be intimidation and a not-so-free press. Trump would target any story that he thinks treats him unfairly – just as any junior high school bully would. My guess is that he would try to put the Drudge Report out of business. He’s already had a feud with FOX News – and he’d for sure sue the New York Times.

Video: In Fort Worth on Friday. Trump threatens Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post

A free press is essential to a free society.

As in any other industry, there are good reporters and bad. Some newspapers have fabulous coverage of both sides of issues and some don’t. But the Framers of the Constitution realized – evening the days before we had such a varied media marketplace as we do now – that reporters and editors MUST BE FREE TO REPORT WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS TRUE without interference from demagogues like Trump and his fellow traveller on this issue, Harry Reid.

When the First Amendment was written, it applied to newspapers and other printed materials. When technology brought radio, television, and the internet, we began using the term “media” instead of the antiquated term “press.” It doesn’t matter. The originalist intent of the Framers was that reporters should not be intimidated by powerful politicians – or by whiny billionaires like Trump.

The sad part about this is the consolidation of media has removed so many of our news sources. Local radio (except for all-news stations in big markets) has given up news. All the reporters and anchors were fired soon after consolidation removed most local ownership. Local TV consolidated over the years as well, but TV is a visual medium and politics gets short shrift at the local level.

Local newspapers still cover politics and thank God for that.

Thank Him also for the variety of choices we have on Talk Radio and Cable TV. I was struck just this morning by the difference in the panels on FOX News Sunday where participants talked about Trump’s negative attitude toward freedom and NBC’s Meet the Press where the panel was discussing the virtues of Democratic Socialism. Under the Constitution, I have the power to decide which I want to watch and which I will turn off. Donald Trump wants to make that decision for me.

Yes, there is already such a thing as media libel.

Vic Feazell

Vic Feazell

By far the most interesting case in media history is the case of Austin attorney Vic Feazell who was bitterly attacked by the media when he was District Attorney in Waco. As a matter of fact, I was a news anchor at WACO 1460 AM at the time, and was given an assignment to attack Feazell. I did the research, and refused to do the story as I thought it was a case of the local establishment and the State attacking Feazell because he stepped on their toes over such things as the Henry Lee Lucas mass-murder case.

But WFAA-TV, Channel 8, in Dallas decided to send reporter Charles Duncan to Waco to pursue the story. He did and the results were pleasing to the establishment. Feazell was taken away in cuffs. He won his case, then sued Belo Broadcasting and WFAA-TV. He won millions (as much as $58 million) in that case and it set a legal precedent. [For the complete story, see my book “The Last Great Days of Radio.]

From National Review’s article, here is what it takes under current law to sue the media:

American libel law is organized around a three-part test. For a claim to be libelous, it must be 1) false; 2) defamatory; 3) published with actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth.

That is precisely what Feazell was able to prove when he took on Belo Broadcasting. Under current law, that is what Trump would have to prove to win a lawsuit with the New York Times. Given that it is difficult to say something negative about Trump that isn’t true, he would likely lose and in a quite embarrassing manner.  LGDR

FOX News, CNN, the NYT and Drudge – look what you’ve done.

We have written in this space that the Republican Establishment made Trump what he is by making promises and then failing to fulfill most of them. We’ve gotten gay marriage, stimulus, Obamacare, EPA rulings, open borders – you name it. There has been no promise that John Boehner or Mitch McConnell would not break. When Republicans sat down at the negotiating table with Reid and Pelosi, we always lost. That’s what made Donald Trump possible.

But it was the news media — the same one he now wants total power over – that enabled him. Tune in to Greta – there’s Trump. O’Reilly – more Trump. Hannity – Trump. CNN – Trump. The Big Three – Trump. ONLY MEGYN KELLY EVER TOOK HIM ON and she got raked over the coals for it.

Video: From CNN. Published on Jan 26, 2016 — Moments from the often bitter back and forth between Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly since the first GOP debate in August.

In retrospect, she is owed an apology. If Trump is elected, and he follows through successfully with this blatant attack on the Constitution, our country essentially will have a state-controlled media.

Trump and the Supreme Court nominee.

How can someone with such little regard for the Constitution be trusted to name a Supreme Court nominee? Do you still think trump would name anyone resembling Antonin Scalia to the most important position on the court in our lifetimes?

What difference does it make?

Trump versus Hillary Clinton will be a mudslinging, negative, national embarrassment between the two most disgusting politicians of modern times. I have thought Trump would out-negative her because of all the felonies she has committed. But as he draws closer to the nomination, he is becoming more vulnerable to the attacks she is now starting to deliver. Bernie Sanders is gone for all practical purposes. Hillary is now going to focus on Trump. He is kindly providing her more material than she can ever use.

Clinton versus Trump will be the classic clash of two Teflon politicians that nothing ever sticks to – but something has to give. With Trump coming out against the First Amendment, Hillary Clinton has yet another issue to use against him.

The Press – the Media – ought to be shamed for all the months of free publicity. Donald Trump is the frozen snake. They brought him into their studios. Now, they’ve been bitten. You could say it serves them right – but if he wins and abolishes the First Amendment as he is threatening to do, we will all live under tyranny.

The good news? He’s full of crap as he always is. Here is no way he can expand the libel laws against the media.

There is talk of an alliance between Cruz and Rubio to try and stop him.

Count me in on this. Cruz blew it off on Sunday TV this morning, but he should think about it. Would you rather have a Cruz/Rubio ticket or even a Rubio/Cruz ticket – or the corrupt Clintons? Or would you prefer the four-year circus of a Trump administration in which he works closely with Reid and Pelosi as he has essentially promised?

If we get Trump, he will destroy the Republican Party and the Democrats will take the White House and both houses of Congress in the next election. The GOP Establishment and the media have gotten us to this point. The voters might want to think about it.


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  1. admin says:

    No need to refute. The Founders did just fine.

  2. don76550 says:

    I notice you did not try to refute a single point I made.

  3. admin says:

    I see far more danger from a government that seeks to manage the news such it does in Russia or North Korea than from a diverse media in which there are all kinds of points of view that provide safeguards. The Founders of our country felt that way and so did the Framers when they drafted the First Amendment. – LW

  4. don76550 says:

    Yes we need a free press, but just as the 2nd amendment doesn’t give me the right to murder, the 1st amendment should give the press the right to lie. Too many citizens have been smeared by press lies. Ray Donovan anyone? Months of sensational headlines, when every charge was proven false, no apology. If you ever see a retraction it’s on page 23 in microscopic print. The New York Times has even committed treason by publishing techniques we use to locate terrorists and they have changed their strategy. Where in the 1st amendment is treason protected? Yes you can sue for libel but it is entirely too difficult and expensive. How about the bogus Duke Lacrosse rape case? How about Food Lion? How about Twana Brawley? How about Richard Jewell? Yes, the press does make mistakes but when pointed out to them they should be required to retract with just as much ink as they used print their lie. Should they refuse to retract that should be absolute proof of malice aforethought. During the 1st Gulf war, Iraq soldiers took countermeasures over reports of an American beach landing. Fortunately that was a false report. How about coverage of issues? Ask anyone who owns a gun, who believes marriage is between a man and a woman, or who opposes abortion if their viewpoints are covered truthfully and objectively. Not hardly. Gen Giap, the vietcong commander held on in Vietnam because he realized the American press was on the side of the communists in the war. Something needs to change in press accountability

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