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Anonymous Sources vs President in Tweet

By: Rae Arnett

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost,” stated Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Currie in 1798; a concept that holds true to this day.

The constitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

The first amendment, as stated above, guarantees, among other freedoms, the freedom of the press. This allows the press to serve as the fourth estate, as a watchdog of all those in power, and a servant to the public instead of the government.

But why is this concept so important?

As Jefferson wrote, the freedom cannot be stifled without being lost. How many times have you found out something positive, or negative, about your community from the press? How often have you learned about this nation we call home? 

Think about the news coverage of riots, of protests, of celebrations; how did that information impact your life? I would argue that while news is not always sunshine and light, it does make the public better informed about their surroundings and their fellow Americans.

Our President in Tweet has been complaining about and condemning the leaks from within the government. Although, according to him, the leaks these stories create are “fake news”, which begs the question, why worry about leaks that have no actual sensitive information.

Call me crazy, but I would not be ranting on Twitter about the law being broken by these leakers, or be asking staffers to turn over their cell phones for examination, if there was not some truth to these accusations and articles.

He has condemned the use of unnamed sources in news articles and broadcasts. Yet, those sources speak on the condition of anonymity to protect themselves.

When I think of anonymous sources in the media, I think of Deep Throat. The scandal that surrounded President Richard Nixon and ultimately helped lead to his resignation was unearthed, in part, because of the bravery of FBI Associate Director Mark Felt who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

Last week, President Trump’s White House, excluded members of the media from a press gaggle. It was not explicitly stated that the exclusion was a punishment for less than desirous coverage from those outlets; however, Trump has stated that the media is the “enemy of the American people”. 

Undermining the “fake news”, as they cover his newly minted presidency and the scandals that seem to plague him, is a good strategy for Trump to use to cover his own ass but will be disastrous for democracy if we allow it to continue.

In the words of Trump’s own Press Secretary Sean Spicer,

“I think we have a respect for the press when it comes to the government that that is something that you can’t ban an entity from… I think that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.”

Sad!

  

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What the Trump is an Alternative Fact

By: Rae Arnett

This week, as I was watching the Trump Administration take full swing, I admit that I was curious about what, if any, campaign promises he would fulfill.

I was anxious to see what he might tweet, what he might say, and who he might nominate for confirmation.

I was not expecting a pissing contest about inauguration crowd sizes nor was I expecting the absurdity that is “alternative facts”.

Senior Advisor to Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, explained that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s interesting first interaction with the press (where he claimed that Trump’s inauguration had the biggest crowd ever. Period) was a representation of alternative facts. Wait… what? That’s what I thought. What is in alternative fact and how can I get some?

But let’s just examine that phrase for a moment.

Alternative is defined as of one or more things available as another possibility.

Fact is defined as a thing that is indisputably the case.

Alternative fact is, plain and simple, an oxymoron. There is no quantifiable evidence that Trump’s inauguration had the largest crowd in history, however there is verifiable evidence of Obama’s inauguration crowd being larger than Trump’s.

Spicer did not present alternative facts. He did not present facts at all, and furthermore, regardless of your personal feelings about the new administration’s policies, there should be concern about these blatant lies.

Being concerned with the honesty and integrity of the White House Administration should be expected of the American people. Especially when the lies told are not serving to protect national secrets, but rather to placate the ego of our 45th president. There is no other reason to lie about such trivial facts. Who cares about the size of the inauguration crowds? Or his hands for that matter.

If we are in the business of accepting alternative facts, then I would like to point out that Marilyn Monroe is going to be my Maid of Honor when I get married, because that’s what alternative facts are; complete fabrications.

I challenge everyone reading this to push for an honest administration. This is not about policies, executive orders, or campaign promises. It is about holding the highest office in the nation accountable and maintaining the ethics we have come to expect from such an office.

Now is not the time to be passive. If you disagree with your local, state, or national representatives then let them know. If you think they are doing a stellar job then write them, call them, send them a bottle of tequila; just do not be passive.

But, even further, I challenge you to look for and expect honesty and integrity from yourselves, and from those around you. If we are going to survive an administration of trivial lies and lack of integrity, then we must truly rise above it and elevate ourselves to a higher level.

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Trump’s Cabinet

By: Chris McManigal

One of the first duties of any new President is to choose the people he wants to work in his Administration. Those people are referred to as his Cabinet and consist of people generally considered to be experts in their respective fields that are expected to serve as advisors to the President during his term. If confirmed by the Senate, they serve as Secretaries of Executive departments.

Trump hasn’t announced his picks for all Cabinet positions yet, but here’s look at who he’s tapped so far.

Trump’s first pick shortly after the election when he announced Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as his choice for Attorney General. Sessions is a long time Trump supporter and is currently serving his 4th term as Senator.

Betsy DeVos was announced as Trump’s choice for Education Secretary shortly after the announcement of Sessions. DeVos is a supporter of charter schools and Common Core.

Outspoken Obamacare critic, Republican Congressman Tom Price from Georgia is up for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Elaine Chao, who served as the Labor Secretary under George W. Bush, is Trump’s pick for Transportation Secretary.

Steven Mnuchin, longtime Chief Information Officer for Goldman Sachs was announced as the pick for the Secretary of Treasury.

Trump’s pick for Commerce Secretary is Wilbur Ross, a fellow billionaire who earned the nickname the “King of Bankruptcy” for his firm’s work in restructuring failing companies.

Trump also tapped retired Marine Corps General James Mathis as Secretary of Defense.

Trump’s only choice that doesn’t need Senate confirmation is that of his selection for his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, who has already been appointed. Priebus is the former head of the Republican National Committee.

Trump has also announced several non-cabinet level positions.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will become the Ambassador to the United Nations if confirmed by the Senate.

Former Marco Rubio supporter Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo will be the incoming CIA Director if confirmed.

Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn will be Trump’s National Security Advisor. This position does not require Senate confirmation.