At CPAC, President Donald Trump took to the stage and spoke to the audience. In his speech, he doubled down on his recent classification of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” but he provided a clarification to that statement.
The original message was sent from his Twitter account on February 17, where he called out the media for publishing fake news stories, but he went further than he ever had before by calling them enemies of the American people.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Quickly, the mainstream networks took offense at such (understandably), and proceeded to make a fuss about the Tweet. However, the networks left out one of the words that Trump used in the original message: “Fake.”
The New York Times‘ story had the headline: “Trump Calls the News Media the ‘Enemy of the American People’
Al Jazeera: Trump declares media ‘the enemy of the American people’
Slate: Trump Calling Media “Enemy of the American People” Reminiscent of Stalin, Mao
The list goes on and on; the media networks took severe offense at the classification that they are the enemy of the people (and honestly, who could blame them?).
However, at CPAC, the President doubled down on his original comment, but provided an important clarification. He stated that the media itself is not the enemy, but the fake news media that is the enemy.
Trump: "The fake news" are "the enemy of the people." pic.twitter.com/kcLYcBcjAA
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 24, 2017
He mentioned how the media often times will published stories that are allegedly provided to them from “sources,” but those sources are never named.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use someone’s name,” Trump suggested. “Let ’em say it to my face.”
However, this is in poor taste, because in order to have a free press, where sources and journalists are free to publish the truth without fear of retaliation, sources must often be protected. That is why in some states, there are Shield laws that protect journalists from being forced to produce their sources.
Should these media networks be forced to provide the names of their sources? No, because then freedom of the press would be threatened. The networks do need to verify their sources, and make sure that the stories they are provided are actually truthful (unlike the mobilization of the National Guard to enforce immigration laws, like the AP ran).
But forced revelation of sources? No, that is a bad idea.