Recently, NBC news claimed that problems were occurring in the Trump White House. Trump responded by questioning whether NBC should continue being licensed.
This is not a new story,as threats have been made by Democrats and Republicans over the last 20 years, threatening the media (television, radio talk show hosts, etc), many times.
The problem is, both parties are putting the First Amendment at risk, threatening to delimit it. The First Amendment guarantees Freedoms of Speech, Religion and the Press. We frequently hear politicians and so-called Americans complain about the First Amendment, wanting to curtail it. We’ve seen several examples in the last few years.
Safe spaces campus are against the First Amendment. Shouting down speakers is against the First Amendment. Having government threaten the NFL for players that take a knee, is against the First Amendment. Preventing neo-Nazis or communists from peaceable assembly is against the First Amendment.
The First Amendment is not to protect speech and thoughts that we agree with, but to protect speech and ideas we disagree with. This is very important, because we never know when our own beliefs may fall out of favor and risk being placed on the chopping block of government.
How should the president and others handle NBC, if indeed they are lying? By using the courts. Free speech and press do not protect against slander nor libel. Government cannot stop these, but a judge can order a stop to criminal or negligent activity.
For the NFL players who take a knee? It is between them and the owners of the teams. Consumers and advertisers can influence that decision by using their First Amendment rights to communicate their displeasure via boycotts, stopping ads, and sending phone/email notices.
In a free market, all voices are heard, unhindered by government. The free market corrects itself. Why are neo-Nazis such a small group with a small voice? Because other free voices have also spoken out against their ideas. Why are NFL owners now deciding to end players taking knees? Because they are listening to the hundreds of thousands of dissatisfied free voices.
If a talk radio show host or television news broadcast make a crazy statement, the free market of ideas can fix it. And if not, Americans are free to prove their injury in the courts.
Why is Harvey Weinstein finally being brought to task? Because people finally feel free to speak out. Imagine how his power kept dozens of women and others quiet, due to fear of retribution. Now, imagine government using its even greater power (with the force of IRS agents, military force, ATF, FBI, etc) pressing down on people to keep them quiet. That is the danger of having politicians and others prodding government to shut down free speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and religion.
The reality is, most Americans no longer understand the importance of these things. They feel offended and expect government to crack down. They are happy, until the storm troopers crack down on their own group. It is time to explain the importance of the First Amendment, which is the most important of the Amendments/Bill of Rights.
Why? Because they reflect the concepts found in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equally with unalienable rights, given by our Creator. Among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (in that order).