On Independence Day, CNN sought to celebrate the freedom of the press, very specifically. On July 5, the network that continues to badger President Donald Trump amid accusations of false reporting, CNN tweeted quotes by influential Americans from history. Among them were Benjamin Franklin, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Abraham Lincoln. In the first of a series of tweets, the network proclaimed “Celebrate America and its freedoms this #IndependenceDay.” More than half of the quotes CNN shared on Twitter involved the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of the press.
Huffington Post opined: “Considering President Donald Trump’s crusade to discredit various media outlets he deems as offering “fake news,” CNN’s decision to single out iconic figures’ thoughts on the freedom of press would seem to be no coincidence.”
Over the July 1-2 weekend, Trump pinned a tweet to his Twitter timeline which appeared to suggest that CNN should be renamed “fraud news.” On Saturday evening, he called out the media for “fake news” during a speech to military veterans. On Sunday, he tweeted an edited video in which he is seen wrestling with a figure over whose face is superimposed a CNN logl. CNN’s tweets appeared to scold Trump over what some in the media, and the Democratic Party, have assailed as an affront to the media and free speech.
Another source of a pointed July 4th tweet was Apple CEO Tim Cook. On Twitter, Cook wished his followers a happy Independence Day, while adding a paraphrased quote from famed Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "'Remember always that all of us...are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.'"
Wishing everyone a happy #Independence Day! 🇺🇸 “Remember always that all of us ... are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” -FDR— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 4, 2017
The excerpt was taken from remarks that the erstwhile president gave to the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1938. Daughters of the American Revolution. In context, Roosevelt -- who was the scion of a family that had already given the nation one president -- was proud to say that he was descended from patriots on both sides of his family tree:
"I thought of preaching on a text, but I shall not. I shall only give you the text and I shall not preach on it. I think I can afford to give you the text because it so happens, through no fault of my own, that I am descended from a number of people who came over in the Mayflower. More than that, every one of my ancestors on both sides—and when you go back four generations or five generations it means thirty-two or sixty-four of them—every single one of them, without exception, was in this land in 1776. And there was only one Tory among them."
The complete text of the line pronounced by Roosevelt to the DAR, which Cook expurgated, is as follows (emphasis added):
The text is this: Remember, remember always that all Of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
Here follows a copy of the complete remarks as delivered by Roosevelt:
"I couldn't let a fifth year go by without coming to see you. I must ask you to take me just as I am, in a business, suit [exploding flashlight bulb]—and I see you are still in favor of national defense—take me as I am, with no prepared remarks. You know, as a matter of fact, I would have been here to one of your conventions in prior years—one or more—but it is not the time that it takes to come before you and speak for half an hour, it is the preparation for that half-hour. And I suppose that for every half-hour speech that I make before a convention or over the radio, I put in ten hours preparing it. So I have to ask you to bear with me, to let me just come here without preparation to tell you how glad I am to avail myself of this opportunity, to tell you how proud I am, as a Revolutionary descendant, to greet you. I thought of preaching on a text, but I shall not. I shall only give you the text and I shall not preach on it.
"I think I can afford to give you the text because it so happens, through no fault of my own, that I am descended from a number of people who came over in the Mayflower. More than that, every one of my ancestors on both sides—and when you go back four generations or five generations it means thirty-two or sixty-four of them—every single one of them, without exception, was in this land in 1776. And there was only one Tory among them.
"The text is this: Remember, remember always that all Of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. I am particularly glad to know that today you are making this fine appeal to the youth of America. To these rising generations, to our sons and grandsons and great-grandsons, we cannot overestimate the importance of what we are doing in this year, in our own generation, to keep alive the spirit of American democracy.
"The spirit of opportunity is the kind of spirit that has led us as a nation—not as a small group but as a nation—to meet the very great problems of the past. We look for a younger generation that is going to be more American than we are. We are doing the best that we can and yet we can do better than that, we can do more than that, by inculcating in the boys and girls of this country today some of the underlying fundamentals, the reasons that brought our immigrant ancestors to this country, the reasons that impelled our Revolutionary ancestors to throw off a fascist yoke.
"We have a great many things to do. Among other things in this world is the need of being very, very certain, no matter what happens, that the sovereignty of the United States will never be impaired. There have been former occasions, conventions of the Daughters of the American Revolution, when voices were raised, needed to be raised, for better national defense. This year, you are raising those same voices and I am glad of it. But I am glad also that the Government of the United States can assure you today that it is taking definite, practical steps for the defense of the Nation. . . ."