Presidential candidates mishandling right of press

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

If you love America and all its amazing freedoms, likely, you appreciate most the First Amendment.

The simple law serves a crucial underpinning of our nation:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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Sadly, both of the likely presidential nominees have taken a unique approach regarding the press.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has banned journalists from more than a dozen publications from attending his campaign rallies.

His rationale, it seems, is that if he doesn’t “approve” of the publication, he simply shuts them out. That’s a scary tactic for someone who may soon wield incredible global power.

On the other side of the political fence, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is not handling tough reporters much better.

She simply rations her access to reporters, presumably because she doesn’t want to face tough questioning.

Both approaches drastically reduce the public’s access to candidates and put our democracy — and the independent journalists who for more than 240 years have protected it — at peril.

What’s worse is that many state and local elected officials may take cues from the new president’s handling of the media.

If candidates cannot handle tough, independent questioning, they have no business seeking to lead our nation.