Politics and Populism Trumps Free Press

Other than being labeled as Republican Presidents,  Trump and Reagan have one thing in common, they have both missed the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan was not present at the Correspondents' Dinner because he was recovering from a gunshot wound which he suffered as a result of an assassination attempt. Today marks the second Correspondents' Dinner that Trump has refused to attend. As CNN phrased it, "Trump is trading in one Washington for another". Following tradition Trump is holding a rally in Washington, Michigan. The intent behind the dinner was traditionally to open the lines of communication between the administration and the press. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of the American government. The ability and right of the press to speak openly and honestly about the government and its representatives is fundamental to the operation of the country and has been since the First Amendment was ratified. Freedom of the press holds politicians accountable, it a public check on the political branch of the United States. When citizens have the ability to know the true motives and process behind politics they have the ability to be informed. When informed citizens are able to make educated decisions on who they want representing them in their nations capital.  Without a free press there is no accountability, backroom deals can be more easily made and corruption more readily committed. In order to be a government by the people, for the people, the people need to be informed, and maintaining a transparent relationship between politicians and the press is the best way to ensure this continues.  It is not surprising that Trump has opted not to attend the Dinner either year as he is notorious for slamming the "fake news media". On a night that was intended to honor the transparency of the White House with the media and ultimately the people, Trump went to Michigan and attempted to draw party lines deeper and add to the polarization of the parties.