There’s a classic scene in the movie “A Few Good Men” in which a prosecutor is demanding the truth from a frantic Col. Nathan R. Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson, seated in the witness stand. Erupting in defiance, Nicholson shouts a couple of times, “You want the truth? You want the truth?…You can’t handle the truth!”
How appropriate that scene would be in D. Trump’s daily slams at the “dishonest media” that has now led to his ban on the New York Times, CNN and some other media from Sean Spicer’s fudging news briefings. By his standards, the modern media are engaged in sedition, which takes us way back to 1798 with the enactment of the Sedition Act by the Federalists who believed they were getting a raw deal from the prints. Like Trump, it was to guard against any attack on the ruling power as “seditious libel” and included such things as “domestic terrorism”. The history books tell us that any published form to excite hostility against the sovereign was seditious.
Even before the Sedition Act, politicians were mounting ways to suppress the press. One of the most prominent victims of such villainy was Peter Zenger, the publisher of New York Weekly Journal. Although the prosecutors failed to have him indicted, he did spend nearly a year in jail awaiting trial because he couldn’t afford to post bail.
It should be quite apparent today that Trump, who fails honesty – and the Constitution – on so many occasions, can’t handle the truth.