This week, President Trump canceled the White House’s subscriptions to The Washington Post and The New York Times and instructed all federal agencies to follow suit. Out of a plethora of terrible decisions Trump has made, the Coast Report Editorial Board sees this move as one of his most alarming yet.
Censoring the press is a hallmark of an authoritarian government.
In Germany before World War II, the government limiting access to news outlets was in large part what facilitated Adolph Hitler’s rise to power and eventual absolute control over the country.
Is Trump’s next move limiting access to unfavorable radio and television stations?
Canceling federal subscriptions to The Washington Post and The New York Times is a move entrenched in symbolism. Trump is effectively saying that neither long venerated paper is a legitimate source of news.
The trickle-down effect of this can be seen even at local student newspapers.
Earlier this month, former President George W. Bush visited Chapman University. Press was not allowed to attend but an exception was supposed to be made for the campus newspaper, The Panther.
After being told that Bush’s office would need pre-publication approval, The Panther staff elected not to cover the event. Bush’s office later contacted The Panther to explain that the condition attached to this story came from Chapman University’s administration rather than them.
Chapman University President Daniele Struppa has since publicly apologized and vowed to improve.
The Coast Report Editorial Board applauds the staff of The Panther for its handling of the situation. We stand with them. Allowing a story to be approved prior to publication is antithetical to our journalistic standards and ethics. Prior restraint, even on a college campus, should not be tolerated.
The free press is known as the Fourth Estate because it serves as vital a role in our democracy as any of the three branches of government. The checks and balances on power provided to the press are enshrined in the First Amendment and is one of the few remaining safeguards of democracy against totalitarianism. We must take care to keep it safe.