National Press Club

Marvin Kalb writes op-ed warning of President Trump’s threat to press freedom

August 21, 2017 | By Gil Klein | gilbert.klein@me.com

Longtime broadcast journalist Marvin Kalb plans to interview Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet about investigative reporting into the Trump administration on the Oct. 16 "Kalb Report" that will be taped at the National Press Club.

Longtime broadcast journalist Marvin Kalb plans to interview Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet about investigative reporting into the Trump administration on the Oct. 16 "Kalb Report" that will be taped at the National Press Club.

Photo/Image: Michael Freedman

After 60 years as an objective reporter, Marvin Kalb did something he has rarely done before: write an op-ed that expressed his viewpoint.

The veteran of CBS News, NBC News, and for the past 24 years as moderator of the National Press Club’s “Kalb Report,” Kalb said he felt compelled to use his decades of experience to warn about the threat posed by President Donald Trump.

“Never in our lifetimes have we faced the challenge of covering a president such as Donald Trump,” Kalb said. “Many of us feel an undercurrent of the dangerous rise of what I call ‘creeping authoritarianism.’ It has become clear to me that we have a president who would like to accumulate powers above and beyond those normally held by a president.”

His op-ed appeared in The Hill on Aug. 15 under the headline “The Trumpian Threat to Freedom of the Press.”

Even though Kalb had once been on President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list,” he said in an interview he did not see Nixon as the same sort of threat to freedom of the press as that posed by President Trump, who believes that press criticism of him is “fake news.”

Trump also sees the press as “enemies of the people,” a charge similar to what 20th-Century dictators such as Adolph Hitler, Mao Tsedong and Josef Stalin made about a free press they wanted to suppress.

Reporters should continue to resist the temptation to editorialize about Trump, he said. They must maintain their objectivity.

The Washington Post and the New York Times are taking the lead in objective investigative reporting into the Trump administration, Kalb said, and that’s why Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet will be the guests on the next “Kalb Report” Oct. 16.