Our Founders rightly asserted that the First Amendment protection of a free press would be a powerful check on statist usurpation — that a free press was the most promising assurance for extending Liberty to future generations.
Consistent with the views of other Founders, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” He also noted, “No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.”
However, after his first term in office, in his 1805 second inaugural address, Jefferson wrote: “During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety.”
A free press was and remains essential to the protection and advancement of Liberty. But as Jefferson noted, the disingenuous adulteration of that sacred First Amendment trust, in which the media abandons its responsibility and colludes with partisans to become an instrument of their bidding, perilously endangers the future of Liberty.
In principle, our Founders’ advocacy for a free press was correct. In practice today, however, the collusion between the statist Democrat Party and its press outlets — the Demo/MSM propaganda machine, which now encompasses most of the mainstream media — has devolved into the most significant self-inflicted threat to Liberty today.