Act Now To Save The Free Press Before It’s Really, Truly, Desperately Too Late

Act Now To Save The Free Press Before It’s Really, Truly, Desperately Too Late

Whether you cover the White House, Big Pharma, or the local water board, it’s time to hide your belongings and kiss your children. For the gulag surely awaits unless we act now.
Neal Pollack
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It’s long been said, especially by me, that I’m the leading advocate and protector of the freedom of the press in this country. I’ve covered every president since William Howard Taft, though admittedly I haven’t left my house on Mount Winchester since 2003 because that’s where they deliver the plasma.

And I can say, with 100 percent certainty, that the Fourth Estate is under assault in America like it’s never been before. Whether you cover the White House, Big Pharma, or the local water board, it’s time to hide your belongings and kiss your children. For the gulag surely awaits unless we act now.

We’ve seen this in America before, or at least I have. Teddy Roosevelt once whacked me over the head with a cane when I suggested that invading the Philippines might not be in the best national interest. Herbert Hoover had me clapped in irons when I asked, “Mr. President, is it possible that this Depression might not, in fact, be so great?” And Dwight Eisenhower nodded off every time I opened my mouth.

Certainly, there have been respites, like when JFK made me the honorary captain of what he liked to call the “Ladies’ Regatta,” and when I delivered a legendary talk, “Where The Triangulation At?” during the first Renaissance Weekend thrown by the Clintons. But there were plenty of other times, like when Richard Nixon trussed together me and Scotty Reston and forced us to watch him bowl, when I’ve feel the iron hand of repression clamp down on my soft pillows of press freedom.

What’s happening today, though, is different. A great bewigged fascist monster roams through the halls of the Constitution of our minds, blood dripping from its teeth. We should all tremble in fear, and shred all our documents.

Right there in the Bill Of Rights, it says, “Congress shall make no law prohibiting a handsome man with impossibly nice hair from yelling at the President every day.” Yet that’s just what happened last week with Jim Acosta, who had his “hard pass” revoked by the White House and was forced to go cover the president in Paris without his hard pass. The injustice is staggering, the threat to our republic unprecedented.

If Acosta can’t berate the White House, what’s to prevent the White House to prevent other people from berating the White House? Indeed, that process has already begun, underneath our noses and around our butts. We are repressed, beyond belief.

This administration has conducted all its business shrouded in complete secrecy, like there were ten J. Edgar Hoovers secretly puttering away in the basement of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, evil elves of silencing. Never before have the workings of government been so hidden from the public view. We know absolutely nothing about this White House, its petty rivalries, its bitter ideological struggles. No one has published books or articles about the administration. Not one person has spoken out publicly against Trump, for fear of reprisal.

Why not? Because we’ve lost our freedom of the press, and speech, and religions. The First Amendment will soon completely disintegrate. Well, it’s time to stop playing tippy toes around this president. There, I said it.

Look around you. We live in a society where citizens, whether employed by press outlets or not, don’t have a right to speak their mind at all times, on multiple platforms, to as large an audience as they can possibly muster. Our every utterance is being monitored. People disappear constantly because they have the courage to criticize the government. Soon, nothing will remain but coal-working yes-men in MAGA hats while the rest of us try to work up a sweat at the re-education camps.

We’re so close to that reality; we must take a stand now before the unmarked vans pull up at our houses. I’ve seen it before, during the Truman administration, and I don’t want to see it again.

Let me be the first to have the temerity to say that Donald Trump should not be mean to journalists. You know who else was mean to journalists? Mao. Hitler. Pol Pot. Stalin. Jafar. Darth Vader. And Bill Parcells. When journalists kowtowed to them, you know what happened, right? Bad things.

Journalists and journalistesses, fellow loins of the press! Rally around my gambit. We cannot let Trump wave the Sword Of Hercules over our heads. It’s time to rise up and take a stand, followed by a bow when we receive our awards for press bravery in the face of impossible odds. We shall boldly carry the pen, which is mightier than the sword but not, in certain circumstances, the AR-47.

It can’t be me, because I cannot stray too far from the mysterious orb from which I draw my strength. But someone else must cover the president before it’s too late. Democracy depends on your noble work. You must answer the tweet! Or at least like it.

Neal Pollack, The Greatest Living American Writer, is the author of many semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. He also cohosts the podcast Extra Credit on Audible.com with his teenage son Elijah. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

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