Recent vicious attacks by the current administration denigrating journalists and calling for curtailment of the free press is a terrifying start to a total loss of a free society's source of information outside the White House. Our country's founders drafted documents to enshrine a free press for very good reasons. This seems like a perfect opportunity to call upon history to remind us why our leaders believed a free press to be vitally important.
"There is a terrific disadvantage to an administration having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove , there still isn't any doubt that we couldn't do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press corps." John F. Kennedy, 1962.
"Since the founding of this nation, freedom of the press has been a fundamental tenet of American life. There is no more essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our continued success in what the founding fathers called our 'noble experiment in self-government.'" Ronald Reagan, 1983.
"Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power and then to withhold from them information without which power is abused. A popular government without an informed populace .. is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both." James Madison, 1822.
"There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants and their tools and abettors as a free press." Samuel Adams, 1768.
We must be watchful and protect this freedom. The strength of our democracy may be the price we pay for apathy.