Column: President Trump ignores American values by excusing Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist

Not supporting journalism is like ignoring our basic freedoms.

Rachel Schnelle is freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.

As an article from The Times of India put it, “attack on freedom of the press is like saying food is overrated or that oxygen is a bit embarrassing.” We live, breathe and think the news. By not supporting journalism, we’re not supporting freedom of the press and that is an act of self-harm.

Listed in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the freedom of the press. Without this freedom, we could not and would not have stories that give voices to the silent and hold those in power accountable. Without journalists like Katherine Graham, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, we would not have stories that uncovered the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate Report.

Some countries, like North Korea or Cuba, still don’t have the freedom of the press, and we often take this freedom for granted.

On Nov. 20, President Donald Trump forgave the Saudi crown prince over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The president later said that “America came first” and that he was “not going to destroy the economy of our country.” Trump’s remarks have not only restated the current government’s lack of ethics, but also the lack of support for journalists and freedom of the press.

It is understandable that the president would want to save our economy. After all, that is a large portion of his job. However, he is at fault for ignoring human rights violations and downplaying this ruthless act of violence. The Saudi prince not only murdered but dismembered the Washington Post journalist. It just seems morally wrong to ignore that fact, and I would still think this if Khashoggi wasn’t a journalist.

“Fake News” has been claimed by Trump every time a news organization has questioned his competency. This has caused his supporters to turn their backs on news outlets that are critical of him. While it has been statistically proven that CNN is more left-leaning, most other stations are not any different. Yet conservatives still don’t support CNN.

As journalism a major, I know what it feels like for people to dismiss this occupation. When I told my family what I was studying, I knew I would hear a wide array of remarks. A popular one was “Yes, finally! A journalist who speaks the truth; you can finally be the first conservative journalist.” I had never once spoken on my political beliefs to them, and they automatically assumed that I was going to speak the truth because I was conservative.

Whether I am conservative or not, I am still going to speak and write the truth because that is my job as a journalist. It may hold the people in power accountable, but if the facts present itself that way then that is how I will write it.

A journalist is someone who reports and gathers information. Journalists are able to do their job because an amendment of the constitution. If the public chooses to dislike journalist then they are disliking freedom of the press and that is an act of self harm.

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