Trump Inches Closer Towards Censoring Media

For all of Trump’s enmity toward North Korea’s Trump-like leader, the fascist in the White House is embracing concepts that keep Kim Jong-un in power without opposition or dissent. After a typical Trump Twitter outburst yesterday, it appears that he is serious in using the United States Congress to target, investigate, and punish the news media and journalists. Yesterday he called on the United States Senate to “investigate” the various news outlets that publish unflattering, but accurate and truthful, stories about him and his administration.

Apparently when Trump took the “swear to godoath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” he was lying.  Of course he was lying and that became obvious the day of his poorly attended inauguration. Trump doesn’t have much use for the Constitution, much less any intent to preserve and protect it; not when he’s violated it willfully and often for pecuniary gain. But this is the first time he has made it clear he wants to use the federal government to aid him in violating the Constitution’s 1st Amendment to censor the media like his fascist paramours in Russia, North Korea, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s panties were in a wad over a couple of reports, and one report that never happened, regarding his strained relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; a strained relationship like Trump eventually develops with anyone who fails to lick his boots. Apparently Trump was incited to a Twitter outburst after learning that his Secretary of State called him a “moron” with “an R-rated modifier” that rhymes with “trucking.” Tillerson’s aptly-worded remarks were many Americans’ reaction to Trump’s self-aggrandizing campaign speech to the Boy Scouts. For dog’s sake, except for evangelical extremists and Nazis, nearly everyone in America and around the world has called Trump a moron – probably with several “R-rated modifiers.”

A couple of hours before dawn yesterday, Trump “tweeted:

Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”

As any eighth grader knows, the “Senate Intel Committee” isn’t investigating any kind of media because unlike Trump, the preponderance of senators comprehend that the First Amendment forbids Congress from abridging freedom of the press.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Tillerson held a news conference after the reporting that he called Trump a “f*cking moron;” a report he definitely did not deny. Instead, he took the “kind-of” high road and said, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.” Still, Trump interpreted Tillerson’s “non-denial” later in the day as proof  the media was lying by claiming the story reported by NBC was “totally refuted” and “made up.”

Not content to use Twitter to spread his own “totally refuted” and “made up” claims about what Tillerson did or did not say, Trump went back to Twitter less than an hour later; surely to impress on his devotees how important it is for Congress to investigate the press. Trump assailed NBC as spreading “fake news” that Rex Tillerson threatened to resign. He “tweeted:”

Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. This is Fake News put out by NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.”

 Besides news outlets or journalists not needing verification (approval) from the liar-in-chief, there is the minor issue of Trump’s wont of spreading “Fake News” to incite rage against the media. It is “Fake News” from Trump that NBC reported Tillerson threatened to resign; it just didn’t happen. What its report did claim was that Tillerson “was on the verge” of stepping down. It is an entirely believable claim after Trump assailed the Secretary of State in public for wasting his time in seeking a diplomatic solution to North Korea.

The insinuation from Trump, and a glaring dog whistle to his zealot followers, is that there is no “real news” except that which he “personally verifies is real” to reporters and news outlets. It is precisely how the “news” is curated in North Korea; only news personally approved by Kim Jong-un is real and verified as suitable for delivery to the public.

Many politicians have rocky relationships with the free press, especially those who lie at about the same rate most people use a toilet. But Trump is a different animal, (all due respect to every animal on the planet). Since his campaign he has made inciting animus toward the press nearly as high a priority as boasting about himself at every opportunity.

Trump has regularly assailed reporters en masse, and very personally. He incites his acolytes, especially in rallies, against various media outlets and reporters, and hypocritically accused individual reporters of sedition. As an aside, writing an accurate story is only considered seditious in countries like North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

During the campaign Trump made a big deal out of wanting libel laws changed to make it easier to sue news outlets he considers spreading fake news; like accurate stories and stories that don’t acknowledge his divinity. He also uses “memes” of violence against news outlets and they are not humorous or inconsequential. They are highly successful incremental acts to incite his followers to violence against the free press.

Although this latest call for the Senate to investigate news outlets is an authoritarian dictator’s move, and it is no revelation that Trump wants the authority to censor the free press, there is the “vengeance” factor Trump is renowned for. Remember, it was the free press that reported every moronic word Trump uttered as well as reporting that Trump is connected to Russia; and that he lies more often than an infant soils its diaper. Those accurately reported stories are one of the reasons the public even knows why the Senate Intelligence Committee, like several other committees and 17 different intelligence agencies, are investigating the corrupt fascist. Getting vengeance on people he thinks wronged him is Trump’s admitted raison d’être. Now he thinks the White House gives him authority to “get back” at his perceived enemies and it explains his attacks on the NFL and now poses a serious threat to the free press.

It is uncertain if anything comes from this latest authoritarian move, at least legally and in the near future. But what is certain is that Trump continues instilling a violent distrust of the media, and the truth, into his feeble-minded acolytes and Americans too ridiculously stupid to recognize a corrupt fascist dictator when they see one.

There is no doubt Trump would unilaterally censor the media if it was within his power, but since he can’t he is doing the next best thing; calling on Congress to do his dirty work. If Trump succeeds, there will still be media in America, but it will be Alex Jones Infowars, Brietbart and Fox News, and the extremist evangelical networks; the only media Trump hasn’t attacked because they are the only groups spreading his fake news.

Putin And Trump Dangerously Commiserate Over “Hurtful” Media

 

There have been plenty of reports and commentary about how crucial to a functioning democracy a free press is, and although it is the 21st Century the term “media” has replaced “the free press” to include more than just newspapers. Even George W. Bush, often at odds with the media during his tenure as president, said in February last:

I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need the media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”

Whether one liked George W. Bush as president or not, and there are myriad reasons to criticize his administration, he never attacked the media. And in fact, he did pressure Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to “embrace a free press;” in February he warned that his efforts then are being undermined now by Trump’s attacks on the media.

It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.”

Today it is actually a worse situation than Mr. Bush commented on four months ago and this weekend at the G20 Summit that was painfully obvious. It was bad enough that Trump disparaged the American intelligence community, real President Barack Obama and the media during a speech in Poland, but a brief exchange between Putin and Trump during their “private” meeting is a clarion call of alarm to American journalists and democracy.

It is unclear if demeaning the press was on the agenda for Trump and Putin’s alleged first one-one-one meeting at the G20 summit, but the subject definitely came up. The two fascists waited until reporters were convened to cover the “meeting” to “trade disparaging comments about the reporters” in the room doing their jobs.

During a scheduled photo op session prior to the highly anticipated private meeting between Trump and his hero Vladimir Putin, the Russian tyrant leaned in to Trump and pointed to the group of journalists in the room, and asked like a Mafia boss:

These are the ones hurting you?”

Trump replied, like a low-level street criminal crying to the Mafia Don:

These are the ones. You’re right about that.

What is unclear is whether or not Putin asked Trump if he wanted “his people” to “make the problem go away;” a prospect that is not remotely out of the realm of possibility.

The brief exchange between the two fascists, Putin and Trump, drew less outcry than expected from journalists, although a few of them did cite what they termed “the troubling media landscape in Moscow.” Now it should be particularly troubling for American journalists that Trump was personally commiserating with the murderous Putin about journalists he agreed were “hurting” him.

In Trump and Putin’s authoritarian worldview, “hurting a corrupt leader” is code for the media doing doing its job reporting the news and events as they happen. The exchange is especially troubling because nearly 60 journalists have been executed in Russia since 1993; including Vladimir Putin’s critics and those reporting on Russia’s storied political corruption.

Although it’s true Trump isn’t yet ordering his minions to start murdering journalists, he is doing the next best thing; calling the American media “the enemy of the people” and claiming any story failing to praise him “fake news.”

Add to that incitement, Trump putting up a doctored video this past week of him beating CNN senseless, and then his punk-ass son sharing a video of Trump shooting down a jet with CNN superimposed on it; a “meme” junior Trump claimed was “one of the best I’ve seen.”

There has already been action on Trump’s behalf by his Nazi supporters who started identifying CNN employees (doxing) so other fascists could harass and intimidate what Trump identified as “enemies of the people,” and issue threats to “hunt down their children” That includes CNN journalists getting death threats. And, as no small number of pundits noted, Trump’s attacks on the media at home and abroad are exactly what other tyrants want to hear to justify their attacks on the press, often murderous attacks.

The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas said,

“Potus disparaging abroad of US media dilutes respect for American democracy & gives license to autocrats to crack down on their own media.”

NBC’s Chuck Todd added:

A trashing of the American press corps and Intel community in Eastern Europe of all places. Could Putin have asked for anything more?”

As former President Bush said, “the media is indispensable to democracy,” and that “it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.” Those two comments inform exactly why Donald Trump is waging a seriously dangerous war against a free press and by extension America’s fragile democracy. Like any aspiring fascist tyrant, Trump detests the concept of democracy and he wants to continue abusing his power without criticism, much less reporting.

Although Trump’s attendance at the G20 signaled an end to American leadership in global economics, trade and foreign policy, it did give Americans some insight into how much Trump really is like Vladimir Putin. And if Americans believe it is only a frightening prospect for the media, they haven’t been paying attention to the inhumane conditions in Putin’s authoritarian Russia. But not to worry, at the rate Trump is aspiring to be like Vlad, they are about to experience Russian-style tyranny right here in America.