North Texas Daily

Trump Jr. event barring press implies distrust

Trump Jr. event barring press implies distrust

Trump Jr. event barring press implies distrust
October 18
05:46 2017

Donald Trump Jr.’s Oct. 24 lecture at AT&T Stadium will focus on freedom of speech, a subset of the First Amendment. Another idea central to this amendment is, of course, freedom of the press.

It should be noted that members of the press are not allowed at Trump Jr.’s speech.

Obviously this isn’t Congress. It’s a privately-funded speaker series, so it has no legal obligation to let reporters in. But this doesn’t mean the decision to bar media is ethical. It is the duty of the media to report on large, politically-charged events like this, especially given the state of the current climate.

Journalism has a responsibility to the public, to be the watchdog for the things that might otherwise go unnoticed, to bring important issues to light, and to equip citizens with knowledge. To keep the press from doing its job is to deny the public access to important information.

The prohibition of press begs the question, what is being said at these lectures that non-wealthy, non-Republicans aren’t allowed to know about? Based on Trump Jr.’s claim during a speech at Faulkner University that college campuses suppress conservative voices, you can make some educated guesses about what will be discussed next Tuesday. Speculation is pretty much all we’ll have access to, anyway.

The Kuehne Speaker Series has always barred the press from attending, and tickets to the events can only be obtained through an expensive sponsorship of the series. However, the North Texas Daily obtained a contract with past speaker Rudy Giuliani that showed media had been allowed to cover the event. The only thing that happened between Giuliani’s and Trump Jr.’s speeches to result in this policy change was the election of President Donald Trump to office, and the ensuing attacks on the integrity of the press. It’s far from a reach to say that Trump Jr.’s support of his father, the president, influenced the choice to deny the presence of the media at his event.

The Trump administration’s disrespect and blatant demonization of the media have been consistently increasing since the campaign days. Just last week, Trump essentially suggested censorship of a publication and called the media’s freedom “disgusting.” The President of the United States advocating the distrust of news media is alarmingly influential. In the future, we may start to see the media being prohibited from more and more events due to this cultivation of contempt.

Trump’s threats to legislatively abridge the press seem empty, but private citizens and groups reserve the agency to decline media coverage. The Kuehne Speaker Series’ decision to do so indicates the people’s weakened support of full freedom of the press in Trump’s America.

Featured illustration by Max Raign 

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Rachel Herzer

Rachel Herzer

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