On Facebook today, my friend asked how I felt about new revelations that Vice President Mike Pence had used a private email account while he was Governor of Indiana, and also about Trump’s continuing war on the media. I thought I’d share my long response, below:
Pence’s email situation is very different from Clinton’s. Indiana law says it’s legal to operate private email as a state government official, plus, there are fewer state secrets in and around that office. But while intelligence suggests there’s no evidence that Clinton’s emails were hacked, Pence’s were hacked. Like many Democrats, I’m disappointed that Secretary Clinton’s emails were such a major part of her election loss, given the mountain of scandal which has rocked Trump’s first month as president — but Pence’s email revelations are just ironic, and nothing more than that. The Washington Post gave a fair account of this today.
As for Trump vs. the media, I only see it one way: reprehensible. You and I may have our opinions about the media; what’s biased, what’s not, what’s pandering, and what’s just downright ridiculous. But for a sitting POTUS to declare ANY media an “enemy of the people,” is un-American. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Start undermining that, or threatening, or intimidating, and things can go downhill very fast. I lived for 20 years in countries without press freedom. America is America because we have our freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom to protest; we have our mindless talk shows, crazy infomercials, Jerry Springer (is he still on?), and SNL.
You might hate CNN and I might hate Breitbart (and I can talk trash about it all the time because I’m not POTUS) — but I’d hit the streets and join a protest if POTUS was threatening Breitbart and Fox, Rush Limbaugh, The Wall Street Journal, and The National Review.
As I’m sure you know, Thomas Jefferson, who hated the press, said this: “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” No POTUS has ever had a cozy relationship with the press. Good. That relationship is not supposed to be cozy. But most presidents have recognized how their words, and their actions toward the press, weigh on our country’s democratic fabric — and therefore they have treaded far more carefully.