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The Enemy of the People 

Without a free press, there is no democracy

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With President Trump's daily offenses and atrocities, it's easy to feel more fatigue than outrage. But Trump's relentless attacks on the press and his profound ignorance of the media's role in a functioning democracy are one of the most pernicious aspects of his authoritarian reign.

Labeling journalists "enemies of the people," dismissing any story critical of him as fake news and jeering at reporters at his febrile rallies—that's the stuff of dictators and despots. And with a fawning Congress and enabling Supreme Court, that's what he aspires to be. He's often expressed admiration for a host of thugs-in-chief (Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi). The only remaining checks on his power are the press and the Nov. 7 election.

We the people only get the chance to do our duty as citizens on election day, but journalists, the kind who put facts before party and follow them wherever they lead, do their duty every day—or every week as the case may be. But just as hate crimes have spiked under this president, so have Trump's attacks on the press. It seems only a matter of time before some MAGA goon beats up a reporter. Oh, wait. That already happened. (See Corey Lewandowski and Greg Gianforte). It's a deeply troubling state of affairs when the real enemy of the people is the man sitting in the Oval Office.

Whether you're a Democrat, Republican, libertarian or socialist, Trump's denigration of the press should strike you as an attack on America and its ideals, namely freedom of the press. There are not many professions whose duty and privilege is enshrined in the First Amendment. It's first for a reason. A free press is critical to maintenance of a democracy. The reporters I know see that as a solemn duty. They're sure not in it for the money.

As one of the remaining, independently owned alternative weekly papers in America, we will continue to defend and exercise our constitutional rights, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted along the way.

Whether you're a fan of this paper or some other, keep reading and stand up for objective truth. It shall set us free.

Stett Holbrook is the editor of the 'Bohemian' and the 'Pacific Sun.'

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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