Media

Time magazine says the US 'remains a free and fair press'

Key Points
  • Despite the White House ramping up its rhetoric, the United States remains a free and fair press, Ben Goldberger the assistant managing editor of Time magazine told CNBC on Wednesday.
  • However, Goldberger qualified that "the demonization of the media" by the White House is "incredibly worrisome and chilling."
  • In an effort to emphasize the work of journalists who "risk all to tell the story of our time," four journalists and one news organization have been recognized as Time Magazine's 2018 Person of the Year.
People take part in a protest outside The New York Times on February 26, 2017 in New York. 
KENA BETANCUR | AFP | Getty Images

Despite the White House ramping up its rhetoric, the United States remains a free and fair press, Ben Goldberger the assistant managing editor of Time magazine told CNBC on Wednesday.

The year 2018 has been marked by manipulation, abuse of truth, along with efforts by governments to instigate mistrust of the facts, the magazine said in an essay when it named killed and imprisoned journalists as Person of the Year for 2018 on Tuesday.

"There's no doubt that the rhetoric from the White House about the demonization of the media as 'the enemy of the people,' or the willingness to dismiss anything including credible news reporting as fake news, is incredibly worrisome and chilling," Goldberger said. "But that said, I return to what I said about the United States — this remains a free and fair press."

"Journalists here enjoy legal protections that are the envy of those in virtually every other country," he added.

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In countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Myanmar, reporters have faced backlash from governments— some even leading to the imprisonment or death of journalists. At least 52 journalists have reportedly been killed in 2018, according to Time.

In an effort to emphasize the work of journalists who "risk all to tell the story of our time," four journalists and one news organization were recognized as Time magazine's 2018 Person of the Year on Tuesday.

The magazine cited slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was allegedly lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and killed there in October; Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who have been jailed in Myanmar; Filipino journalist Maria Ressa whose news website that was known for criticizing the country's government has instigated charges against her; and the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, where five people were shot to death in June.

Journalists here enjoy legal protections that are the envy of those in virtually every other country.
Ben Goldberger
assistant managing editor of Time magazine

The common thread in many events this year "was essentially the increasingly slippery nature of truth — its uses and its misuses," said Goldberger. "And so who better to tell that story than those who have devoted their lives, in some cases, literally given it, in pursuit of it."

Last year, the news outlet cited people who spoke out against sexual misconduct as Person of the Year.

Since 1927, Time magazine has had the tradition of recognizing individuals who — for better or for worse — have done the most to influence events of the year.