The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues. Though it is not formally recognized as a part of a political system, it wields significant indirect social influence.
The derivation of the term fourth estate arises from the traditional European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The equivalent term “fourth power” is somewhat uncommon in English, but it is used in many European languages, including German (Vierte Gewalt), Spanish (Cuarto poder), and French (Quatrième pouvoir), to refer to a government’s separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Today a federal court ruled against President Trump in a lawsuit that claims he has used government power to retaliate against media coverage and reporters he dislikes in violation of the First Amendment. Specifically, the court denied a government motion to dismiss the case and will allow it to go forward on allegations that President Trump has retaliated against the White House press corps and certain holders of security clearances who work as media commentators based on their First Amendment-protected speech.
PEN America, with counsel Protect Democracy, the Yale Law School Media Freedom of Information & Access Clinic, and Davis Wright Tremaine, filed the landmark lawsuit to stop President Trump’s campaign of censorship against the press. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the president’s bid to dismiss the case, allowing it to proceed to the discovery phase.
SUZANNE NOSSEL, CEO of PEN AMERICA, the plaintiff in the case, issued the following statement:
“It’s hard to think of a moment in American history in which unvarnished, accurate news reporting has mattered more than it does now. This decision is a victory not just for PEN America and our own writers, but also for the journalists and media outlets doing the vital, risky work of keeping us all informed. But above all, it is a win for all individuals who depend on a free press to dig out the facts and hold leadership accountable without fear of reprisal. We sued the president because we believe the First Amendment prohibits him from retaliating against speech he dislikes. We are grateful that this essential suit can move forward, vindicating the rights of all those who rely on a free press.”
JENNIFER EGAN, PRESIDENT of PEN AMERICA, issued the following statement:“PEN America is profoundly grateful for the court’s timely decision. Though we filed our lawsuit more than a year ago, the Trump administration’s punitive stance toward the press has continued unabated, with corrosive results for truth, fact, our democracy, and—most recently—public health.”
KRISTY PARKER, COUNSEL for PROTECT DEMOCRACY, one of the organizations representing PEN America in the lawsuit, issued the following statement:
“The president can take to Twitter to complain all he wants about media coverage, but he abuses his power and violates the Constitution when he uses his office to punish members of the media. This is not North Korea—we don’t allow our politicians to control what the press says or punish the media for coverage that Dear Leader doesn’t like. Just the opposite—we rely on the media to hold the powerful accountable to the people. It’s important for all Americans that the press can do their jobs freely.”
The lawsuit was filed by Protect Democracy and co-counsel on behalf of PEN America, a leading organization of writers and literary professionals. The lawsuit claims that President Trump has violated the First Amendment rights of PEN America and its members through his threats to use—and actual use of—government power to punish the speech of those he perceives as critics in the media.
The plaintiffs argued that under the First Amendment’s protection for freedom of speech, President Trump can express his own views and criticize journalists and media organizations, but he cannot issue credible threats or deploy government power to retaliate against the media for its coverage. As laid out in the complaint, the president has in at least five situations used or threatened to use the regulatory and enforcement powers of government to punish the speech of journalists. He has:
Initiated a government review to raise postal rates to punish the owner of the Washington Post;
Directed DOJ enforcement actions against media companies, including CNN’s parent company Time Warner;
The court granted the government’s motion to dismiss on claims related to the first four situations, finding that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue, but allowed the case to go forward on the claims related to press credentials and security clearances. The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment—a ruling that the president’s use of government power to punish the press violates the First Amendment. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could have far-reaching consequences for a president who has made a habit of retaliating against his media critics, and for future presidents who might seek to escalate attacks on the press.
The government had argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue and failed to state a legal claim. Today’s ruling held that the plaintiffs can pursue claims for declaratory relief based on allegations of retaliation against the White House press corps and holders of security clearances.
The case will now move into discovery, where plaintiffs will be able to obtain documents from the government to substantiate its claims that President Trump has sought to use the regulatory state to punish media he does not like.
This post is courtesy of Wikipedia and PEN America.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Itsmission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” Edith Wharton, Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verses
The Sun Is In Love With Me
what a morning, good morning burst of apricot, showering light drizzling glee, a child’s laughter if I had to live for just one day it would be this one, morning-glory nodding her bright-eyed blue head and i know, there’s no such thing no such thing as a death star there’s only life, over hill and field shining into windows, on warm grass Look! the daisies are smiling and the California poppies are popping yellow like corn in a pot the moon was muse last night today the sun is in love with me
And here we are still poeming away in the time of COVID-19. It’s not surprising that many of these poems reflect the global strategies for containing the virus so relentlessly dominating our thoughts. The poems collected here today are in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Magnolia Teacups, March 18, which encouraged poets to write about life on their day off. In one of his poems, Our Empty Shelves, Paul reveals what a shock it is to come back to work at his grocery after his days off and see the changes wrought by the pandemic.
Isn’t it wonderful that we can sooth our spirits and connect with others through poetry without passing anything more dangerously contagious than perspectives and experience? Much thanks this week to mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonia Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, Miroslava Panayotova, Bishnu Charan Parida, and Adrian Slonaker for coming out to play and so gracefully responding to the challenge.
Enjoy! Be inspired, comforted, stirred, … and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.
sábado de manhã*
dew drops shape
coffee slowly drips
from the hallway foot steps fall
Cortana plays old time country tunes
the gray cat her ocean green eyes watch me write words that will remain unspoken
in proper fresh Beef fat for better flavour, in a proper chip pan. Don’t let
old fat lie. Keep it new, not like neighbours, nowt against them,
not meaning to be offensive but veg don’t put hairs on your chest,
or give a bloke owt to hold onto on a night. There’s yon young un out
on a morning in her slippers and pyjamas hangs out her undies,
as if no ones looking. Him next door in his loose dressing gown lumps white
bags in grey bin, pussy cardboard boxes in blue. Like I said don’t let old fat lie.
Tha allus sees summat proper fresh
out thee windows.
A book begins and ends in a garden.
A book begins and ends in delight.
See the coloured pages
Scattered like pixels.
Each bird note is a colour.
Each rustle is a colour.
Sometimes a rubato
out of the usual rhythm
of this morning and evening
The garden of memory.
His rock garden reminded my late dad
of Lake District mountains.
Each page is a leaf,
each leaf an instrument
played by the gust.
Every chorus of leaves
A fresh painting of the garden.
An as yet, unpublished poem, part of last year’s poetry month
It was Friday night quite late, a silent voice told
me, ‘ pull the curtains and look’, right in front
suspended, illuminating the sky, smilingly
appeared the crescent, another bright star in its
company, ‘we are here, and you are not alone’
Lucky me to have seen them, I returned to my
desk and thought, ‘would I be able to finish my
pending work, the story that my son wishes me
to write? The poems, that are in the files needing
printing? The half knitted baby sweaters, and afghan
squares? the clock’s needle kept moving smoothly
not ticking, soon it will be predawn prayer time,
time to pull aside the curtains and see the first light
reveal the hillside, alas here there are no magnolias
nor roses nor tulips, but fields and a few farmers-
Birds will appear, to feast on the crumbs put on the
wall, crows fly over from time to time, strangely they
are silent, Saturday mornings are silent as schools are
closed, children are silent too sleeping late, peaceful
is the atmosphere- Saturdays are ‘get together days’
The village farmer will bring fresh vegetables, lay
them on the ‘charpoy’ on the roadside close to his field
and the day’s sale will soon begin-the city nearby will
gradually rise from its drowsy numbness, half opened
eyes watching vehicles begin to race as work begins
on a much slower pace, asking for and giving space
just a selfish concern and soon busy in the worldly
“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar
Saturday mornings begin best with
Awakening while the sun still sleeps, dressing then
Trotting down the stairs with sneakers in hand, quietly making a PB and J yet
Ultimately waking the youngest ones with the coffee pot’s final hiss,
Rushing to get them back to bed then, quickly into the car, fueling and hydrating
(me not the car)
Driving to a favorite trail, late, but relieved that my tribe waited for me to
Arrive before starting on our group run.
Yes, this is the best way to begin a Saturday.
I have lived, I have been bereaved,
I have known joy leaping in bubbly bounces, and,
I have bowed completely defeated and defenseless,
But this one Saturday, is uniquely born,
A day of anxious waiting,
A day of tedious praying,
Marooned inside my mind and space,
Common nature sounds refuse to led the old tongue,
For my attenae is pulled long and hard into my chests behavior,
Listening to the engine humming,
Keenly hearing the erratic thrum,
Is it so is it not so?
Am I “goosed” am I not ” goosed”
I remember leaving my appetite at the doctor’s place,
I forget where I misplaced my seen of peace,
Photographs seem to mock my staring eyes,
My moves are jerky and my nerves frayed,
I want to pray but my tongue plays roof top stuck,
This Saturday morning is quite a mouth full,
It exposes the cowardly self of my self,
Preaching loneliness in a severe tongue and jeering at my speeding heart.
Across the fence a child cries and a mother sings,
In the distance, the train whistles,
Further still, thunder rolls,
The smell of moisture in the air fills my lungs,
I take a shower and a hot cup of coffee,
I have a load of mail to answer to and,
And a poem for this day,
Was advised to socially distance till this cough runs out,
Am alone but not so lonely,
And this Saturday is a day of and for lessons,
Sometimes, we take for granted the beauty of togetherness,
A fact if I survive, I do promise on this Saturday morning,
Never take for granted the simple joys of interactions.
Nestled naked in a king-size bed,
I banish the brashness of Saturday morning sunrays
with blackout curtains
and quench a parched mouth with
starfruit sparkling water –
an upgrade from the Lucky Charms-infused moo juice
of my youth,
neutralizing the gorgonzola and mushroom pie
acquired from that quirky pizzeria run by hipsters
and the sucrose-laden liquid thought to be coffee
quaffed during the frenzy of fringe freak shows
known as Friday night trash TV,
trailed by an extended dose of calming darkness
with pressures popped like a succession of cracked knuckles
and a heart rate relaxed by
a fresh paycheck in the belly of my bank account
and a satin-bound blanket that doubles as a hug
when you’re single.