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Letter: The free press is an essential part of a democracy

Bette Grande's opinion column published July 3 is headlined "Lack of civility did not begin with Trump." Then she goes on to blame Maxine Waters, Democrats, media, radio talk show hosts and the "unhinged" left.

Trump did not invent uncivil discourse, but he goes all out to engage in it every day. He continually descends into childish name-calling rants against anyone who opposes him in any way or offends his fragile ego. He encouraged violence at his campaign rallies, offering to pay legal fees for anyone assaulting Trump opponents. He said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters would stay with him. He tells his followers to fear a big crime wave even though the rate of violent crime in this country has been going down for several decades. He tells his followers to fear and hate immigrants even though their crime rate is much less than that of the rest of the population and they generally contribute positively to society. He continually sends out dog whistles to white supremacists. And this is just a partial list. It is very disingenuous for a Trump supporter to call Maxine Waters or anyone else uncivil.

The most disturbing part of Grande's column was continuing Trump's attack on the free press. Trump called the free press "the enemy of the people," and he continues to verbally harass them at his rallies. That is un-American and a grave danger to our democracy. The free press is an essential part of a democracy. Would-be autocrats always want their followers to distrust the media so they can feed them their own self-serving "alternative facts." Yes, media people are human and make mistakes, but they attach their names to their work. If something they print or say turns out to be untrue, they issue a correction, unlike Trump.

Trump supporters have correctly noticed a lot of negative coverage of Trump. That is because opposition to his administration comes not just from the opposition party, but from two former Republican Presidents, two former Republican presidential candidates, dozens of Republicans involved with previous administrations, virtually every Republican member of Congress who is not campaigning for reelection, and many opinion commentators from all across the political spectrum. No other president of either party has ever faced such opposition. When media coverage of Trump seems negative, it is usually because they are just reporting the facts. As the saying goes, "facts are stubborn things."

Linderman lives in Carrington, N.D.