Donald Trump is digging in and sticking with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, even though Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields says he bruised her earlier this week. Trump told ABC News after last night’s debate Lewandowski is innocent.
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) March 11, 2016
He also doubled down on the previous comments by the campaign claiming it’s a big, giant conspiracy against him.
#Break: Donald Trump just told me he thinks that the Michelle Fields incident didn't happen. "I think they made it up."
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) March 11, 2016
Donald Trump on Michelle Fields incident: “The Secret Service are amazing people. They said absolutely nothing happened."
— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 11, 2016
So there you have it, despite pictures of the bruising, audio, and witness accounts, Trump says the entire thing is fake. Made up. A complete lie. Give me a break. His loyalty to his employees is slightly admirable, but this is the same guy who kept his spokesperson even though she’s made some weird tweets in the past. But if Ted Cruz is willing to cut ties with his former spokesperson for putting out a fake Marco Rubio story, Trump should probably consider the same thing. Lewandowski needs to either resign or be fired. It’s the prudent and reasonable thing to do. The fact the Trump campaign won’t do the right thing might as well mean they really believe they can do almost anything, and Trump’s followers won’t walk away. In fact, they’re standing by their man almost better than Hillary Clinton did Bill Clinton in the 1990’s
Fields isn’t taking this lying down, suggesting both she and Lewandowski should take a polygraph test and giving her side of the story to ABC News. One of the big lines from her Nightline interview is asking how Trump would feel if Ivanka was hurt.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 11, 2016
Here’s why this entire Trump vs. Michelle Fields thing makes me angry: freedom of the press. It’s an important part of American history, and a basic foundation of its creation. Freedom of the press was put in the Constitution because of John Peter Zenger’s trial for libel in 1734 after he criticized New York Royal Governor William Cosby. This is why Trump’s comments about opening up libel laws are scary (and anti-American) because of what happened to Zenger. This is why former University of Missouri professor Melissa Click’s actions last fall are just as infuriating because they violate freedom. The same goes for the Obama Administration’s attempt to go after Fox reporter James Rosen and the Associate Press’ phone records and the Bush administration going after Judith Miller. It makes me cringe to see more and more people try to keep the press from doing its job. I can understand the right to privacy (especially when the government wants to get all up in our business), but when stuff like this happens it shows just how tenuous America’s relationship with freedom actually is.
There are plenty of people out there who see the media as corrupt and “in the tank” for certain politicians. They’re not wrong at all. But the reaction by Andrew Breitbart and Michelle Malkin wasn’t to try to get into power so they could crack down on publications and TV stations they didn’t agree with. The advent of “citizen journalism” is like the pamphleteers who circulated their own news during the colonies. It was using this freedom of the press to push back against those who weren’t interested in covering “real stories” which spawned the entire phrase “new media” and showed it wasn’t going to be stopped by the mainstream media, which wasn’t interested in being “the fourth column” anymore. Press freedom isn’t always going to be pretty (or true), just look at your garden variety tabloid, but it’s still something which should be cherished. If you don’t like what a media organization is publishing, either ignore it, find one you do like, or create your own outlet. If it’s good for Breitbart and Malkin, why can’t it be good for others? Are they that worried the court of public opinion won’t be swayed in their favor, so they’re willing to reduce to rubble one of the basic foundations of this country? Are they that rigid that they’re unwilling to listen to people who don’t agree with them?
Look at it this way: if the freedom of the press is taken away, what’s next? Freedom of speech itself? Freedom of religion? Freedom to own guns? If you’re going to be mad at one politician for shredding the Constitution, you must get mad about another politician doing the same thing. Even if he claims to be on “your side” because there’s no guarantee he’ll stay on “your side” if you happen to write something he doesn’t like.