Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California, speaks at River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs on the Fourth of July, addressing the importance of an independent press and calling President Donald Trump a ‘predator.’ (Photos by Caitlin Yamada)
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California, speaks at River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs on the Fourth of July, addressing the importance of an independent press and calling President Donald Trump a ‘predator.’ (Photos by Caitlin Yamada)

July 8, 2019

COUNCIL BLUFFS

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris stressed the foundational role of an independent press with a spirited and layered defense of the role of the news media in a Fourth of July speech in Council Bluffs.

Harris, speaking at River’s Edge Park, just across the Missouri River from downtown Omaha, Nebraska, pointed to press freedoms as essential for American life in remarks delivered just miles from the Mid-America Center where President Donald Trump weeks before the November 2018 election trained vitriol on the media, which he often refers to as the “enemy of the people.”

On several occasions at the Harris speech, the crowd of nearly 500 people cheered the role of journalism.

After describing the media as one of four legs on the table of American democracy, Harris, a U.S. senator from California, said journalists played the pivotal role in elevating issues of migrant family separation near the southern border.

“I am convinced that had the independent press not gone down to the border in droves to allow the American people to witness what was happening, that we would not have seen the kind of bipartisan reaction that said, ‘Enough, you’ve gone too far, this is not reflective of our values. Stop that policy,’ ” Harris said.

Near the end of the event, a college student asked Harris about student-loan debt.

“What are you majoring in?” the White House candidate asked.

“Journalism,” said the student

The crowd roared with cheers.

Harris also eulogized Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom United Nations officials say was assassinated by the Saudi Arabian government.