In response to the suggestion that newspapers might be improved by state intervention, Sir Winston Churchill said the following in 1949:
“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny… Under dictatorship the press is bound to languish… But where free institutions are indigenous to the soil and men have the habit of liberty, the press will continue to be the Fourth Estate, the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.”
In December of 2016, White house press secretary Sean Spicer said in an interview with Politico’s Jake Sherman:
“We have a respect for the press when it comes to the government, that that is something you can’t ban an entity from…I think that is what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.”
Spicer’s December remarks were in response to questions about the Trump campaign’s propensity for blacklisting a lengthy list of reputable media outlets.
Skip ahead to 24 February 2017, when Spicer—acting under the authority of the president and Steve Bannon—banned journalists from The New York Times, CNN, Politico, BuzzFeed News, and The Los Angeles Times from White House briefing.
By Spicer’s own definition, the United States has just crossed from democracy to dictatorship.
It’s the 3rd of March, 2017. This is not normal.
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