Threats to free press anything but fake


The claims from the reporter are disturbing, shocking.

But given the repeated declarations about “fake news” and “enemy of the people’? Not surprising.

According to a report in The Washington Post, journalist Ben Watson said things got tense after he revealed his profession to the Customs and Border Protection staffer reviewing his passport.

Watson, news editor at the national security site Defense One, said the CBP officer asked, “So you write propaganda, right?”

When Watson responded that he was a journalist, the officer repeated his propaganda question. When he explained that he covers national security, the officer asked the question for a third time.

“For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes,” he replied. Watson said the officer made him agree one more time before letting him through.

For its part, the CBP said in a statement that it is investigating the “alleged inappropriate conduct.”

As the investigation proceeds, it’s worth noting the CBP apologized in February to a BuzzFeed journalist questioned at a New York airport about his news organization’s coverage of President Trump and special counsel’s Robert Mueller’s investigation. And that in August, a British journalist claimed a CBP officer at the Los Angeles airport “aggressively told me that journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg, with other journalists speaking up about harassment from government officials in America, home of a free press legally protected by the First Amendment.

The World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists. This year the United States fell three spots to 48, marking the first time the country’s media climate has been labelled “problematic” in the index. The U.S ranking has fallen for the past three years.

We don’t think it’s a coincidence that these and other incidents have occurred at a time when members of the news media — when the free flow of information by an independent press — are being vilified by the occupant of the highest office in the land.

A free press is a bedrock of our country. But too many people who don’t like the facts that are revealed when the press does its job fairly and objectively are quick to cry foul — or propaganda.

They should be careful what they wish for. Keep attacking the concept of a free and independent press, keep hoping that pesky reporters will stay silent, and pretty soon all we could be left with is propaganda. Real propaganda, that is.

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