“Fake news my ass. I like a free press”

I was walking on the beach yesterday with my wife, Susan, and we passed a man and woman, probably both about my age. She was on the phone. When we passed, we said hello and kept on moving.

He shouted, “I like your shirt! Free press”

I looked down. I had forgotten which one it was. Oh, yes. A T-shirt I had gotten from the UNC School of Media and Journalism. On the back it quoted Samuel Adams.

“There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants … as a FREE PRESS.” — Samuel Adams, 1768

I turned to him, smiled, said thank you and kept moving. Then he said, “Fake news my ass. I like a free press.”

At that, I walked back to him. His wife, still on the phone, looked alarmed. I stuck my hand out to him to shake and said, “damn right.”

And we started off again.

It still stuns me that the president of the United States calls the news media “the enemy of the people.” It still bothers me that few Republican members of Congress have the courage or patriotism to contradict him.

Every September, UNC celebrates First Amendment Day, as a part of Banned Books Week. This year it is Sept. 24. I got the Samuel Adams shirt in 2017.

I wear it with pride.

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