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Senate Passes Resolution Affirming ‘Press Is Not the Enemy of the People’

The front page of the Boston Globe newspaper referencing their editorial defending press freedom at a newsstand in Cambridge, Mass., August 16, 2018. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The Senate on Thursday took a thinly veiled shot at President Trump over his criticism of the media, passing a resolution that states the “press is not the enemy of the people.”

“Tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions,” the non-binding resolution states. It goes on to make clear that the Senate “condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States,” in a seemingly clear reference to Trump’s Twitter broadsides.

Citing quotes from the founding fathers, the resolution reaffirms the “vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States.”

Senate minority leader Charles Schumer of New York and Democrat Brian Schatz of Hawaii spearheaded the resolution, which passed by unanimous consent in a voice vote.

“We can’t let statements by POTUS declaring the press is the enemy of the people go unchallenged,” Schatz wrote on Twitter. “These words of past leaders should inspire this body to act—to send a message that we support the First Amendment.”

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