Thank goodness for freedom of the press — oh, wait …

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 10/24/18

Someone is going to get killed. Oh, wait … it’s already happening. Perhaps you have heard of the latest incident, the murdered Jamal Khashoggi, state of Virginia resident and Washington Post …

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Thank goodness for freedom of the press — oh, wait …

Posted

Someone is going to get killed.

Oh, wait … it’s already happening. Perhaps you have heard of the latest incident, the murdered Jamal Khashoggi, state of Virginia resident and Washington Post correspondent, who entered a consulate of his native Saudi Arabia in the country of Turkey and did not come out.

By the time of this writing, no one disagrees that he was killed. Tortured, beheaded, and dismembered by minions of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Turkish authorities who claim they will release video and audio evidence this week. Or, he was inadvertently killed in a fistfight once inside the consulate, according to state-run Saudi media, for which more than 15 people have been arrested and the head of security has resigned.

Trump has grudgingly admitted that Khashoggi is dead, finally, even though his business associates in the Saudi government at first issued “very strong denials.”

Although always fraught with peril, the world has become an even more dangerous place for journalists, for those who, like Khashoggi, write about oppressive regimes and suppression of free speech and a free press, as well as for those who are simply asking the questions that need to be asked, the questions that need to be answered.

Thank goodness, though, we are in America, where our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee free speech and freedom of the press.

Oh, wait … there’s Montana, where Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs asked then-candidate Greg Gianforte last year about his position on the wildly unpopular health care plan that was ultimately voted down in the Senate – a fair question that needed to be asked, and a question for which the American people deserved an answer.

Instead of providing a thoughtful, considered response befitting a person seeking a job in the U.S. Congress, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground.

Fox news reporter Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the incident, said she watched in disbelief as Gianforte began punching Jacobs, yelling something to the effect of “I’m sick and tired of this!” Acuna wrote, “To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”

Gianforte pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced by the local judiciary to four days in jail as a misdemeanor, which was later changed to 40 hours of community service, a fine and a compulsory anger-management course.

But, thank goodness, such violence against journalists is not actually condoned in the United States.

Oh, wait … not only was Gianforte elected to Congress days after the assault (c’mon, Montana), he was praised by Trump at a rally in Bozeman just last week, who said that someone who body slams a journalist is “my guy.”

Although this is far from the only time Trump has urged violence against the press, his comments, as the Guardian notes, mark “the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil.”

I don’t care who you voted for … this has to alarm you. Not only are the foundational freedoms of our country and our way of life under siege, with this kind of open season on journalists in the U.S., someone is going to get killed.

And if you think it can’t happen here, look no further than the treacherous environment created by the current leader of our country who promotes, condones and even rewards this violence. In the service of silencing the “enemy of the people” – and cheered on by the highest levels of authority – his own minions have already taken on the mantle of attacking and assaulting journalists who are simply doing their jobs of bringing vital information to the American public.

Andrea Doray is a writer who recommends that if you don’t like or agree with the news you’re getting, change your source. Or better yet, seek out the sources with which you don’t agree, as well as those you do, and just listen. Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com.

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