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The Tartan stands committed to freedom of speech

It’s been nearly two weeks since the election, and President-elect Donald Trump has taken to Twitter more than once to show his displeasure with criticism against him, denouncing The New York Times, protesters in New York that he called “very unfair,” and the cast and crowd of Hamilton, from whom he demanded an apology. These actions continue the unsettling precedent set during Trump’s campaign for what kind of relationship dissenters from the press and the population can expect with President Trump.

No matter who you voted for, we the people must now fight to uphold a fundamental American freedom — the freedom of speech. What makes America truly great is that our democracy promises us the right to stand up to our elected officials if we take issue with their actions, as well as the right to publicly proclaim these opinions in newspapers, on the radio, on television, in magazines, etc. — all without fear of persecution and censorship. Trump’s actions suggest that he would prefer a silent, compliant public and press, and may be willing to infringe on our right to free speech to obtain it. This would erode the very foundations of our democracy.

The best way to protect our rights is to exercise them, but to do so ethically. The first tenet of the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics is to “seek truth and report it,” which encompasses a journalist’s duty to provide a complete story with all perspectives, to never purposefully distort information, to hold power structures accountable, and to “support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” Throughout this year’s campaign, the media has not always upheld their end of this bargain, often spinning stories to create favorable angles and silencing viewpoints that do not align with their story. American media consumption habits, supported by the media being consumed, have created a climate that values audience satisfaction and catchy headlines over ethical, unbiased reporting that honors all perspectives.

In the wake of this election cycle and in the face of Trump’s presidency, The Tartan will continue to strive to uphold our duty, and we hope to see the same from other news sources.

At Carnegie Mellon, we want to be clear that The Tartan is more dedicated than ever to protecting the open exchange of information. We seek to accurately and completely cover campus and national news as it pertains to you, our readers. As Carnegie Mellon students ourselves, we promise to continue looking critically at everything around us, asking difficult questions, and endeavoring to find their answers. The Tartan is a resource for everyone at Carnegie Mellon to express their opinions or frustrations, generate important conversations, and demand action from your community. We stand behind the freedoms guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment. As the Carnegie Mellon student newspaper, we’re invested in your right to exercise those freedoms.

If you would like to have your voice heard by suggesting a story or submitting a letter to the editor please contact us at forum@thetartan.org.