The Trump regime has earned the dubious distinction of being named an authoritarian government by London-based Reuters News, one of the world’s most trusted outlets for breaking news and in-depth journalism. The Editor-in-Chief of Reuters, Steve Adler
The Editor-in-Chief of Reuters, Steve Adler, released an open letter to all of their news reporters around the globe, explaining how American journalists will handle the country’s first openly dictatorial government, seeking to limit press freedoms:
Reuters is a global news organization that reports independently and fairly in more than 100 countries, including many in which the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack. I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists. We respond to all of these by doing our best to protect our journalists, by recommitting ourselves to reporting fairly and honestly, by doggedly gathering hard-to-get information – and by remaining impartial.
Adler’s words speak volumes about the sorry state of America’s constitutional right to freedom of the press, which has been challenged mightily in the dozen days since President Obama left the Oval Office.
Numerous journalists were arrested and charged with federal felony crimes while covering a massive inauguration protest, as law enforcement conducted a general seizure program which is sure to be illegal under the Constitution’s 4th Amendment.
Steve Adler also responded directly to the new President’s unconstitutional attempts at chilling or ending free speech, by publicly declaring reputable news organizations to be fake mainly because they report facts. America’s new authoritarian regime even complains about video recordings of Trump himself doing awful things, which he then lies about and denies, even when though there’s an undeniable visual record:
It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” We don’t know yet how sharp the Trump administration’s attacks will be over time or to what extent those attacks will be accompanied by legal restrictions on our news-gathering. But we do know that we must follow the same rules that govern our work anywhere
Reuters has earned a stellar reputation for breaking accurate, international news since the 1850s. In fact, one of their first major scoops was bringing news of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in Ford’s Theater to the rest of the world.
Today, they’re bracing for a difficult, even brutal fight to cover news events in the United States as our new madman of a President seeks to provoke a global diplomatic catastrophe.
It’s shameful that today, news organizations have to compare America to Iran. But activists trying to nimbly fight the plots of any authoritarian government, including our own in Washington D.C., should read the entire rest of this article for tips about how and why it’s important to protest, fight or petition the government when it does wrong.
If you’re out there writing or journaling, Tweeting or Facebooking, or photographing or video recording, live streaming or podcasting about the dangerous and often unprecedented news happening in Trump’s America daily, take some time to read about the Reuters way.
Ironically, discipline it Reuters requires to be an expert reporter is the precisely same set of skills required of any citizen seeking to take direct action. If you’re looking to speak in front of the many local, state and federal agencies which run our country, or to make a move in their local party or to participate in or even lead an activist movement in authoritarian America, this is required reading.
Here’s Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler’s list of do’s and don’ts:
–Cover what matters in people’s lives and provide them the facts they need to make better decisions.
—Become ever-more resourceful: If one door to information closes, open another one.
–Give up on hand-outs and worry less about official access. They were never all that valuable anyway. Our coverage of Iran has been outstanding, and we have virtually no official access. What we have are sources.
–Get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us.
–Keep the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles close at hand, remembering that “the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved.”
—Never be intimidated, but:
–Don’t pick unnecessary fights or make the story about us. We may care about the inside baseball but the public generally doesn’t and might not be on our side even if it did.
–Don’t vent publicly about what might be understandable day-to-day frustration. In countless other countries, we keep our own counsel so we can do our reporting without being suspected of personal animus. We need to do that in the U.S., too.
–Don’t take too dark a view of the reporting environment: It’s an opportunity for us to practice the skills we’ve learned in much tougher places around the world and to lead by example – and therefore to provide the freshest, most useful, and most illuminating information and insight of any news organization anywhere.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition