Presidents Day piece examines White House views on free press through history

NLP in the News

The Hill, a Washington, D.C., -based news website that focuses heavily on politics, policy and business, published a commentary by Alan C. Miller, founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project, discussing the history of U.S. presidents’ views regarding a free press. The article, which ran on Presidents Day, looks at this history in light of the current administration’s attacks on journalism as “fake news.”

“Donald Trump is by no means the nation’s first chief executive to take umbrage at the coverage he receives from the press. In fact, presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama have complained, sometimes bitterly, about journalists’ critical reporting,” Miller writes in his opening.

What former U.S. leaders also have in common is an understanding of the vital role of the press in our democracy. Miller demonstrates this by featuring select leaders’ statements on the topic.

Miller also says that “many presidents have expressed appreciation for the vital role the press plays as a cornerstone of democracy — even when they felt they had been unfairly attacked. So, on Presidents Day, at a time when many tend to see the news through a prism of Republican red or Democratic blue, it seems fitting to note this long bipartisan history.”

The piece also notes the important role of a free press in keeping the United States electorate informed. This is particularly relevant as the nation enters campaign season for the presidential election in November. “So, on this Presidents Day, let’s recall those chief executives who, despite their own fraught relationships with the news media, have recognized that a free press is a pillar of democracy. As the 2020 presidential campaign unfolds, let’s be mindful of their words as we look to the press to provide the information that we need to help us decide who will lead our country,” Miller concludes.



More Updates

Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss showcases The Sift

Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss features content from The Sift®,  NLP’s free weekly newsletter for educators, in her blog throughout the school year. Lisa Marie Presley’s death, AI problems and more news literacy lessons (Jan. 25, 2023) News literacy lessons: ‘Shark Week,’ Stephen Curry video, toxic social media  (Dec, 17, 2022) Twitter chaos, LeBron James,…

NLP in the News

National NewsLitCamp®️: Trust and Credibility Agenda and Schedule

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 9 A.M. – 6 P.M. EST NewsLitCamp: Trust and Credibility is a free, virtual event hosted by the News Literacy Project in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group! It is designed to help educators teach students to analyze news and information with a skeptical — not cynical — eye. The professional learning…


To keep our democracy strong, we need to restore trust in news media

Once trust is gone, it’s tough to regain. But it’s critical that we all work to restore it. That’s because public trust and a news media industry that does its job well go hand in hand in protecting our democracy. That’s why my organization, the News Literacy Project (along with The E.W. Scripps Company), is focusing on trust in newsrooms and news coverage during National News Literacy Week.