Press is not free, speech is not honored, republic is not constitutionally governed – when reporters are ignored, silenced, and mocked. Nor when opponents are gagged, abuses perpetrated, no interest in accountability. We are there.
For those saying “tut-tut,” “all is fair in love and war,” “sit down,” or “don’t hear you,” remember “what goes around comes around,” truth prevails, time is coming.
Last week, as happened before, conservative, truth-seeking reporters in the White House press room were ignored – and then worse, mocked for their questions.
On October 11, Karine Jean-Pierre, the adolescent, deflective, unprofessional White House press secretary, let her bias loose, as if entitled to mock.
Asked why she had ignored a conservative reporter from a major news organization for two years, she scoffed.
“You haven’t called on me in two seasons, Karine,” said the reporter. Arrogant to the end, she said: “And I’m not calling on you today,” then to another, “Go ahead.” Her attitude was, you are part of those who question our use of power, why bother?
The audacity of the exchange gives the lie to all the Biden White House does, including fake interest in American economic pain and anguish, denial of their greedy and illegal ties to China, pretending rule of law or borders matter.
It is all one big lie, a bold push-back, like saying they believe in a free press, then pressuring high tech companies to cover for their corruption, punish political enemies, and throw elections with information manipulation, all big croc tears.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend ten years after the Declaration: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, which cannot be limited without being lost.”
If a President defers press dialogue to a self-righteous, antagonistic young women, and she uses her voice to mock real questions, the republic skates on thin ice.
In another letter, a few years later, Jefferson wrote: “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”
Think on that assumption, the idea that public servants, including a president and spokeswoman, owe the people and thus the press information sifted by hard questions, on which the people can make informed decisions, correcting course “whenever things get so far wrong …” If the questions are blocked, truth fails.
In the end, the 1st Amendment – and all amendments to our Constitution – come to nothing if not implemented, and free speech and press begin with respect for both.
While a free press must take to heart the idea of keeping government accountable, or lose their freedom – and our free press has stumbled lately – the other half of that deal is government answering the tough questions, not refusing to answer.
Perhaps Jefferson is a good place to end, as much as to begin. No one expected more of the government, press and us – and hardly anyone thought more about it.
Said Jefferson, shivering in advance at the likes of Biden and Jeane-Pierre: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him,” adding “This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.”
Well said, by a man who loved liberty, not fond of the press, who invited questions until his dying day. Ms. Jeane-Piere could learn from him, but likely has no interest. He is just that curious, insistent sort she would not call on, why bother?
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.