I know that it’s just a dumb convention for politicians to talk this way, but Senator Amy Klobuchar’s invocation of “unprecedented attacks” on journalists and freedom of the press (during the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings today) in the United States is irritating.
The senator could bother to learn about, among other things, the hideous history of the political party to which she belongs.
Woodrow Wilson not only engaged in stern repression of critics in the press, he publicly described his own favored policy as one of “stern repression.” Thousands of dissidents and antiwar campaigners were indicted under the Espionage Act. Wilson went as far as to ask Congress for formal powers of censorship; Congress, happily, declined.
Franklin Roosevelt abused federal law-enforcement powers to try to destroy the Chicago Tribune. He also used economic regulation, using wartime quotas to deprive the Tribune of newsprint while ensuring that its competitors were well-supplied.
And this isn’t all ancient history, either — Democratic activists have been campaigning for years to get the FCC to drive Fox News out of business.
So, no, not “unprecedented.” Far from it.
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