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Monday, 17 July 2017 19:46

The practical reason to be alarmed by Republican cries of ‘fake news’

Written by  Catherine Rampell

We members of the media probably sound a little self-serving when we complain about constant attacks on press freedom.

Press freedom is a sacred democratic value, enshrined right there in the Constitution! we huff to whoever will listen.

Needless to say, lots of Americans remain unconvinced.

As I noted last week, a recent NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll found that 4 in 10 Republicans believe the United States has too greatly expanded freedom of the press. Since then, an American Press Institute survey found that 6 in 10 Republicans believe news organizations primarily just prevent political leaders from doing their jobs.

Fed a steady diet of media vilification (served up by both left and right), Americans are apparently unmoved by citations of political texts that feel far removed from their daily lives. Maybe, they think, efforts to “open up our libel laws,” dismissals of the lamestream media as “fake news” and even threats of violence against journalists could do the country some good.

To those indifferent to abstract political ideals, let me offer a more practical reason to be alarmed by assaults on media freedom: the fact that the government can, and inevitably will, screw up.

Events over recent weeks suggest that Republicans’ war on the media should not be viewed in isolation.

Read more at WashingtonPost

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