William H. McRaven, retired U.S. Admiral and UT System Chancellor, championed the role of the news media in a speech to Moody College of Communications students and faculty on Tuesday.He backed that up with a blogpost a few days later:
“We must challenge this statement and this sentiment that the news media is the enemy of the American people,” McRaven said. “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
In my sixty years, most of the serious threats to our nation have come from the outside: the Cold War, the Vietnam War, terrorism and the wars that followed. While at times, these external pressures encouraged some within our government to adopt a barricade mentality – hiding information from the public, acting secretly outside the bounds of the law, and encouraging behavior that had an extralegal feel to it – never has the government openly challenged the idea of a free press.Then this weekend:
Each of us in government swears an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." The first amendment to that constitution assures freedom of speech and of the press.
To which he responded:Trump on retired Navy SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven, who called Trump's attacks on the press "the greatest threat to democracy."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 18, 2018
"He's a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer. And frankly, wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?" pic.twitter.com/lyaBvC9KFd
McRaven, in his statement to CNN, said “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else.”Not, Trump. In other words.
“I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for,” he continued. “I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.”