Does Donald Trump have a problem with the First Amendment?
Does Donald Trump have a problem with the First Amendment? I think that is a fair question to ask and here is why:
Back in February Donald Trump threatened that as President he would use libel laws to sue the media “like you never got sued before” if they write stories he deems to be “horrible and negative.” Here is what he said back then:
“And one of the things I’m going to do, and this is only going to make it tougher for me — and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope I do, and we’re certainly getting there, I’m going to open up the libel laws so when they write horrible and negative and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” he continued. “We’re going to open up those libel laws, so that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see? With me they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we can put up those libel laws and we’ll have people sue you like you never got sued before.”
This is part of what I wrote in response:
I am sure this comment will be met with high praise by many of us who are fed up with the media bias for they will love this tough talk but before we get to that I would like to remind people that while we do not like the media bias there is nothing to prevent the media from being biased. I am not just writing this because I do not like Donald Trump, I have written in the past that nothing can be done about the media bias because it is protected in the First Amendment in the Constitution and is in fact nothing new. Here is one example of what I have written in the past:
The fact that there are media outlets that are conservative and media outlets that are liberal is nothing new; in fact liberals had a stranglehold on most of the media until the repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine” and the birth of Fox News, but there have always been conservative newspapers and liberal newspapers. This goes all the way back to the 1700’s when people like Benjamin Franklin were creating and publishing newspapers while also writing articles for the same newspapers using aliases to promote their own personal political agenda.
Donald Trump’s comment sounded eerily familiar to The Sedition Act which was passed by President Adams and subsequently repealed by President Jefferson. But Donald Trump was at it again today. Last week Ted Cruz’s father made a comment about the “body of Christ” and how they should unite and vote for Ted Cruz and today the billionaire businessman responded thusly:
“I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to do it,” Trump said. “I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to say it. You know, I am back by Jerry Falwell, Jr. You look at some of the ministers that are backing me and they’re backing me more so than they’re backing Cruz. And I’m winning the evangelical vote. And it’s disgraceful that his father can go out and do that and so many people are angry about it. And the evangelicals are angry about it, the way he does that.”
So according to Donald Trump it is a disgrace that Ted Cruz’s father was allowed to exercise his First Amendment right because he was speaking out against Donald Trump. Of course it was okay for Donald Trump to question the faith of both Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, that was not disgraceful…
Does Donald Trump have a problem with opposition speech or am I reading too much into this, after all stifling and criminalizing opposition speech is something we normally associate with the Democratic party. I will close this post with what I wrote before about Donald Trump’s promise to sue media outlets:
“To me the most frightening part of Donald Trump’s statement is when he said “with me they’re not protected” when talking about the media, perhaps he does not understand that it is the First Amendment to the Constitution which protects the media. Or perhaps he does not care about the First Amendment to the Constitution, or the Constitution as a whole for that matter…
It is clear to me that Donald Trump is a big government statist who will do whatever it takes to stifle the opposition if he is elected President of the United States.
To those of you who might say I am being too hard on Donald Trump let me ask you this: what would you be saying if Barack Obama made the same statement?”
I think that comment applies here as well…
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium