No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.
The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by a despotic government.
Thomas Jefferson’s quotes on the importance of a free press to democracy
There is no question that President Trump is making every effort to denigrate one the pillars of our democracy. His continual attacks on “fake news” and “the press is the enemy of the people”, particularly at his non-stop campaign rallies, are not only outrageous but also are dangerous to the people whose job it is to report the news. The term news needs to be reiterated. Trump’s rallies are not news! We are long past the point where there is anything newsworthy in these rallies. So one must ask why are several scores of news teams from the media always present at Trump’s rallies? Why do news editors and producers but their reporters and news team out there to be targets for Trump’s vitriol?
It maybe just a guess but a guess with some credence. News media organizations cover these rallies for two apparent reasons. The first is the competitive nature of news organization. Reporters work on stories gained from their sources. Great reporting comes with the news industry’s affirmation of a “Scoop”, something really new that we didn’t know before. This is especially true of the print media. The electronic media normally will use a “Breaking News” announcement to report news just breaking. The ability to be first with the news is and always has been a prime motivator for news organizations. The question is are news organizations really going to get any breaking news from a Trump rally? Could a rally be covered by one Associated Press or Reuters reporter? Anything Trump could possibly say new would be available from these two reporting services for all the news organizations anyway. Sending all these news teams to cover a Trump rally on this premise doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps, they could spend their time reporting on news the is more of an interest and importance to the American public, rather than Trump’s self-glorification, endless falsehoods and repugnant attacks on those who dare criticize him.
But the second reason news organizations cover Trump rallies, is that it is obviously good for business. Money motivates the head honchos of news organizations. Advertisers put their dollars where they think they will get the most bang for their buck and news organizations, particularly the electronic media, pay attention to their Neilsen ratings. This article from Wikipedia will give more than you probably need to know but it will give you a great insight into why it is important. The second reason is quite simple. It is about advertising revenue. Advertising translates into profits and part of those profits end up in the shareholder’s pockets in the form of dividends.
The answer to our initial question of why news organizations cover Trump rallies may be answered above. But it begs another question. How dangerous has it become for news teams to cover these rallies? Read this chilling account from Brett Stephens of The New York Times. This is not an isolated incident. Other reporters have told of similar anonymous threats. These people are not “unpatriotic” as Trump suggests at his rallies. His rallies are not worthy of the dedicated men and women who strive to bring the news based on real facts to the American public. They are the true patriots. In the words of Jefferson these are the people who defend our liberties from the rantings of a would be despot. The time is now for heads of news organizations to protect their news teams before someone becomes injured or worse killed by a deranged Trump supporter!