A coalition of writers, including journalists, have teamed up to launch a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for essentially being mean to them.According to the coalition, PEN America, the president has used his powers as the president to “stifle exercise of the constitutional protections of free speech and a free press.”
As examples, the coalition cited “his cries of ‘fake news,'” his description of the “fake news media” as the “enemy of the American people,” and the White House’s infrequent demands that reporters — who many argue lie about the president — be fired.
“This has created an environment of hostility toward the media wherein journalists have been subject to death threats, needed bodyguards to cover political rallies, and have faced attacks in their newsrooms,” the coalition wrote on its blog.
Writing for Townhall, Beth Baumann questioned how PEN America knew for certain that these threats were a result of Trump’s rhetoric.
“So many of these supposedly ‘neutral’ journalists go on Twitter rants about what they think of a Trump policy or something he says,” she opined, with her point being that the threats may just be from people annoyed by their rhetoric. “If reporters were truly ‘neutral,’ no one would know what political party they’re affiliated with.”
The coalition also neglected to mention that the media’s hyperbolic and oftentimes false rhetoric has caused members of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to likewise be inundated with death threats, harassment and sometimes even assault.
And unlike the president’s rhetoric — which has never once included calls for his followers to attack the media in any way, shape, or form — members of the media have explicitly called for Republicans to be harassed.
“[W]hen President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional,” the coalition’s rant continues.
In an op-ed for Politico, the coalition executive director, Suzanne Nossel, echoed this rhetoric, writing that “[u]sing the force of the presidency to punish or suppress legally protected speech strikes at the heart of the First Amendment, contravening the Constitution.”
Except the president has never once suppressed the media’s First Amendment right. And the so-called “threats” cited by the coalition were just Trump posing questions to his Twitter followers:
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
In an attempt to cite an example of the president suppressing the media’s rights, Nossel non-specifically cited “several cases” in which “it appears that the bureaucracy he controls has acted on his demands, making other threats he issues to use his governmental powers more credible.”
Appearances can be deceiving, can they not? This is why the judicial rulings are determined via the analysis of facts, not appearances. It’s perhaps because of this glaring lack of facts in PEN America’s suit that few appear to be taking the suit seriously.
Just take a look at Twitter’s reaction to it:
You got to be kidding. What’s the damages? Trump makes money and ratings for the press, especially Politico! If Trump didn’t exist you guys would have to invent him to stay alive.
— John Marke (@JohnAMDG) October 16, 2018
Yeah, it’s very concerning. I’ve noticed how it’s really tempered your coverage. That threat of retaliation is really holding you hostage for the 5-8% positive news coverage. With a few well placed lawsuits you could probably drop that to 1-2%
— andrew knott (@andrewknott8) October 16, 2018
— Shifu (@SpiderTrades) October 16, 2018
LMAO at this stupidity. Priceless indeed!
— Dave Garner (@V1_man) October 16, 2018
#fakenews lies lies lies
— Skidmark (@Skidmark_1138) October 16, 2018
Twitter user “Angela” had a fair point, arguing that the media already boasts a horrible trust rating with the American public, and given the frivolousness of this suit, the rating will likely plummet even further.