While it is true that the press has always been under the protection of the Constitution (due to its “watchdog” role in American politics and society) its track record in fulfilling its duties is spotty at best. Political players with dubious ethics have always understood the power of the press and the benefits to be had by corrupting and controlling it. Thomas Jefferson, like Donald Trump today, was no stranger to a false, lying, corrupt press. Jefferson wrote during his first term that the press had,
". . . by pushing it’s licentiousness and it’s lying to such a degree of prostitution as to deprive it of all credit. and the fact is that so abandoned are the tory presses in this particular that even the least informed of the people have learnt that nothing in a newspaper is to be believed. this is a dangerous state of things, and the press ought to be restored to it’s credibility if possible.