Michael Flynn’s downfall could mark the end of the free press
President Donald Trump’s cabinet so far has been fraught with issues. He has had problems getting Betsy DeVos confirmed as Secretary of education, and he has named several unusual people to positions such as Secretary of State, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Attorney General. With all of the problems in his cabinet, few expected National Security Advisor Michael Flynn would be the first cabinet member fired by President Trump.
Flynn, a strong supporter of investigating Hillary Clinton and locking her up, was fired earlier this week for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about calling Russia about sanctions, while President Trump and Vice President Pence were still on the campaign trail. Basically, Flynn called Russia after President Obama raised sanctions against Russia, and Flynn promised them that President Trump would eventually remove these sanctions, so they should not retaliate.
Since it has been revealed that this phone call was made, Flynn has been forced to resign from President Trump’s cabinet. This has led to President Trump’s administration being thrown into complete chaos, and has left the public reeling because Flynn committed a treasonous act, and the Trump administration seems to be in denial about what happened.
Flynn, in his resignation letter, stated, “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the president and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
President Trump has both denied any wrongdoing on the part of Flynn and has blamed the press for the leaks within Washington. Trump went on a Twitter rampage tweeting things like, “Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!” and, “The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story — RUSSIA. Fake news!” Even if we ignore the various errors within these statements, they are still very dangerous.
President Trump is using this event to further discredit the media in an attempt to receive the favorable opinion of the public. He has somehow spun this event into something that he can label as fake news and brush under the table. He stated that the news sources need to apologize for investigating a possible treasonous act of one of his cabinet members, when that is their job.
Trump is making it clearer and clearer that the only way he is going to make it through the next four years, is if he does not have anyone fact-checking him and holding him accountable. He will be able to get away with anything if the press is not able to inform the public. The job of a free press is to be a check and balance on the government. The Constitution was written with three branches of government, which have checks and balances on each other, in order to keep each branch accountable, but the press is supposed to be the check and balance on all three, so that government is held accountable to the people.
President Trump is prepared to do the most damage that he possibly can to the press because then the only “real news” will be news that praises him, and the “fake news” will be anyone who says otherwise. Because of this, Trump will be able to convince his supporters of anything, from something as harmless as the size of his crowd, to illegally promising to remove sanctions, as perfectly acceptable.
What Flynn did was wrong, but what Trump is doing to the press and the people is unacceptable. Trump’s reaction to Flynn’s wrongdoings further exemplifies his inability to govern a free nation. Trump’s discrediting and redirecting of the press are classic acts of a dictator, and he is operating under the mentality that he is going to do whatever he wants, and everyone else will have to deal with it.
Trump is signing executive orders so quickly, that we are unable to keep track of what they all do, and what they could mean for our government. He is purposely creating a mess of things, so that people can not see the important things happening in the background. While Trump continues to make a mess of things, it is on us to continue to support news sources, so that we can have some version of the truth. Trump and his administration have shown us that they will not give us the truth, so it is up to the media. The New York Times, CNN, and any other news source who does not share the same opinion as Donald Trump are not “fake news” and we cannot allow Trump to label them as such because when we lose the press, we lose democracy.