Stand up for Jorge Ramos: A free democracy depends on a free press
If you don’t know Jorge Ramos, he’s been called the Spanish-language Walter Cronkite,1 and he does what American journalists rarely do anymore: he asks tough questions of people in power. When politicians try to change the subject, he holds them accountable and shows the world what they really think. He’s a well respected, world-famous journalist with a huge audience in the United States.
Asking questions of the powerful was exactly what got him in trouble at a recent press conference in Iowa on the presidential campaign trail. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump refused to answer a question from Ramos about immigration, and told him to “go back to Univision.”
The linked petition, which I hope you’ll sign and share, says:
To the presidential campaign press corps:
“A free democracy depends on a free press. You didn’t walk out in protest when Donald Trump forcibly ejected Jorge Ramos for doing his job and asking tough questions. The American people want to know: Are you a journalist or a stenographer?”
While stenographers and talking head punditz (spelling intentional) were resoundingly damning Ramos for doing what he’s supposed to do, a real journalist stood up for him. Glenn Greenwald wrote:
What Ramos did here was pure journalism in its classic and most noble expression: He aggressively confronted a politician wielding a significant amount of power over some pretty horrible things that the politician is doing and saying. As usual when someone commits a real act of journalism aimed at the most powerful in the U.S., those leading the charge against him are other journalists, who so tellingly regard actual journalism as a gauche and irreverent crime against those who wield the greatest power and thus merit the greatest deference.
Congress and our regulatory agencies have failed us. They have allowed media ownership to become so concentrated that their products – newspapers, magazines and broadcasts – cannot be trusted. Even PBS and NPR can no longer be counted on; their broadcast content is increasingly dominated by multinational corporations.
If Donald Trump has what it takes to be president, he can easily manage to take questions from journalists and stenographers alike. And if Trump has what it takes to be a great president, he should welcome journalists’ hard questions, and be disdainful of stenographers’ corporate-scripted non-questions.
Please sign and share the petition. Thank you.