The case for a free press has been gaining steam since the first news outlets were created in the United States, but it’s not yet fully baked.
The Supreme Court is weighing a constitutional challenge to the Constitution’s First Amendment protections against censorship and has already upheld the Texas law requiring that news organizations publish a disclaimer that states: “The author of this article is a citizen of the United Kingdom and has not been granted or required permission to publish this statement.”
And, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Texas legislature is also seeking to restrict the freedom of the press in the state.
But for now, the argument for free media is more or less sound.
In his 2015 book, “The Republic of Grief,” the philosopher and author Michael Hudson wrote that we are in the midst of an epochal moment in American history: “The moment when Americans will be able to say that, yes, we can have a meaningful, informed public debate without having to hide behind the cloak of government secrecy, the moment when the American people will be free to demand, as the founders did, that the government should provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions.”
In other words, Hudson argued, Americans can demand that the state provide them the information that they want, even if it means that we have to pay for it.
“We have no reason to believe that government is more honest or more trustworthy than private citizens,” Hudson wrote.
“The very idea of government as a servant of the people, or the notion that there should be a separation of powers between the federal government and the states, is a mistake.
The Founders understood that, as they put it, ‘government is not the servant of its masters, but the servant and protector of the whole community.'”
The Texas law requires the state to publish a statement saying that the statement is “not intended as a substitute for or endorsement of any opinion or position expressed by the speaker or the publisher, but rather as an articulation of his/her own views.”
It’s a statement that is not meant to be taken literally.
But, as Hudson pointed out, the First Amendment does not only protect the freedom to say what you want, it protects freedom to express it.
As the Austin American-Statesman noted, Hudson’s words were “one of the most important constitutional arguments of the 20th century.”