Whaaa? Trump Wants to Cancel All Press Briefings Because ‘The Ratings Are So High’

Last week Donald Trump floated a proposal to cancel all future press briefings. The comment was made during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He followed that up with a tweet affirming his desire to silence the White House press office.

Donald Trump

Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases. What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent.

But Trump went even further with his hostile proposal to wrap his presidency in a soundproof cocoon. And his reasoning sunk even deeper into an illogical rant that exposes his deranged thought processes:

“These press conferences are like the biggest thing on daytime television, OK. You see the ratings. They’re blowing away everything, on just about, I think, everything, on daytime television. What I’d love to do is stop them.”

So Trump is now intent on stopping pressing briefings because – – – they are too popular? Trump is actually right, for once, about ratings. The Sean Spicer Show (Fibby Spice) does pull in an audience. And ratings reflect what America’s TV viewers want to see. Apparently they are anxious to see the media holding the President accountable and forcing his administration to explain its actions.

So obviously Trump wants to put an end to that. Ironically, three weeks ago Trump cited those same ratings as the reason he would never part with Spicer. He told the Washington Post that “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.” Now insiders are hinting that Spicer will soon be replaced, possibly by Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.

So what happened between then and now that made him so scared of the ratings? Could it possibly be that he’s incapable of justifying his unethical actions and comments with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Does he recognize that he’s confessed to impeachable acts and needs to shut down the press before the country finds out? Clearly his motivation, at least in part, includes a desire to punish the media. He said so himself:

“They will be very unhappy, because the ratings are so high that I don’t know what these networks are going to do. They’re going to start to cry. They get free ratings because of me and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”

Setting aside Trump’s authoritarian tendencies to clampdown on the press, his concept of their purpose is painfully ignorant. He is not there to produce ratings for the media. And to the extent that he does it’s a reflection on the public’s interest in government, not his popularity. But the kicker is that Trump thinks the media owes him positive coverage because of the ratings that he claims are his doing. Donald Trump can’t stop acting like a reality TV game show host long enough to be president. And that, along with his narcissism, paranoia, and general incompetence, makes him an imminent threat to the nation.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Scared Sh*tless: Der Fuhrer Trump Threatens to Cancel ‘All Future Press Briefings’

The fallout from Donald Trump’s incompetently executed firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to rain down hard on his administration. Not only did he transparently interfere with an active investigation of his collusion with Russia, but he admitted as much in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

Comey Trump

At one point in the interview, Holt pressed Trump “Did you ask, am I under investigation?” Trump responded saying that “I actually asked him, yes. I said, if it’s possible, will you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, you are not under investigation.”

That is a wholly inappropriate question for a president to ask an FBI director under any circumstances. But in this case, Trump already told Holt that the dinner where this occurred was one where Comey was seeking to stay on as director. So Trump was actually tying Comey’s job prospects to the investigation. Elsewhere it was reported that Trump had tried to extract a loyalty pledge from Comey, which Comey refused.

These comments are literally impeachable offenses all by themselves. Trump’s intimidation tactics were obvious and intolerable. Not surprisingly, the media reported on what he said, which always makes him mad. But this morning’s tweetstorm included some frightening suggestions of a tyrannical mindset:

First of all, Trump is making excuses for his press representatives dispensing misinformation (lies) to the public. That is never acceptable. If there is some question about the facts, the correct answer is “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.” But Trump’s people instead decided to pollute the discourse with falsehoods.

More importantly, Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases.

What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent. The issue that preceded his outburst was Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that Trump fired Comey at the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That wasn’t true, and Trump himself contradicted it the next day in his interview with Holt by saying that he already planned to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation. So in Trump’s deranged brain, the press must be punished and banished.

Another item in this morning’s Twitter tirade was also notable for its threat to democracy and the rule of law:

REALLY? Trump is implying that he might be keeping Nixon like secret recordings. Comey isn’t the one who should be worried if such tapes exist. Their existence, and Trump’s use of them to intimidate, would be another justification for impeachment. And something tells me that the contents of any such tapes would affirm Comey’s account of what occurred at their meetings. Trump, after all, is a pathological liar.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

BE AFRAID: Trump Admin is ‘Looking At’ Amending or Abolishing the First Amendment

The not-so-subtle inclination of Donald Trump toward totalitarian rule has been apparent for some time. He has repeatedly expressed his admiration for strongman dictators like Erdogan, Jong-Un, Hussein, and Vladimir Putin. What’s more, the alleged “dealmaker” is nakedly hostile to compromise or to accommodating opinions that differ from his own. It’s either conform to Trumpism or be denigrated as a lying, crooked, enemy of America.

Reince Priebus

In an interview Sunday, Trump’s Chief-of-Staff, Reince Priebus, affirmed the authoritarian aspirations of this president. ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Priebus about Trump’s prior statements concerning punishing or restricting the press when he doesn’t like what they say about him. That question led to this ominous exchange (video below):

KARL: I want to ask you about two things the President has said on related issues. First of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws. Tweeting “the failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change the libel laws?” That would require, as I understand it, a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

PRIEBUS: I think it’s something that we’ve looked at. How that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we’re sitting here on 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters . . .

KARL: So you think the President should be able to sue the New York Times for stories he doesn’t like?

PRIEBUS: Here’s what I think. I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired . . .

KARL: I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. It’s about whether or not the President should have a right to sue them.

PRIEBUS: And I already answered the question. I said this is something that is being looked at. But it’s something that as far as how it gets executed, where we go with it, that’s another issue.

Priebus could not have been more clear. The President is actively considering changes to the Constitution that would put the free press at risk. The changes he is considering would permit retaliation from hostile government officials seeking revenge for unfavorable coverage. Even short of litigation, such a move would have a chilling effect on journalists.

Trump has openly expressed his animosity toward the press. He calls them sleazy, liars, and “fake news” (although apparently without any understanding of what that phrase means). During the campaign he corralled them in pens and revoked the credentials of those he felt were not sufficiently adoring. His comments have even put some of them at risk for physical harm.

Trump’s consolidation of control goes beyond just the media. This weekend he also complained about the processes in Congress that interfere with him getting his way. “The rules of the Senate,” he said, “in some of the things you have to go through, it’s really a bad thing for the country in my opinion. They’re archaic rules.” In other words, he is opposed to the sort of democratic form of government wherein the people’s representatives work together to shape a consensus on legislation. He prefers dictating his demands and having everyone comply unquestioningly.

The purpose of these assaults on the Constitution is to delegitimize any criticism or opposition, no matter how appropriate. Trump wants only positive stories about him and his administration. And he will not tolerate anyone exposing his frequent mistakes, misstatements and lies. For that reason, every American should be wary of Trump’s efforts to silence the press. And particularly any attempt to codify such censorship into law or Constitutional amendments.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LOL: Crack Fox News Team Uncovers SHOCKING Anti-Trump T-Shirt Conspiracy

Fox News is always on the lookout for the sort of breaking news that impacts the lives of the American people. And they aren’t afraid to spend hundreds of hours on Benghazi myths, Kenyan birth certificates, or imaginary voter fraud. The diligent sleuths at Fox News work tirelessly to inform their viewers of pertinent issues. After all, these are the heroes who previously broke the “Boob Bombs” conspiracy wide open, and disclosed the existence of “Jihad Monkeys.”

Fox News

This week Fox News has landed another incredible scoop that is certain to roil the runways of Washington. The political fashion establishment will never be the same. On an episode of Fox and Friends First, co-host Heather Childers unleashed a sure-fire Pulitzer winning expose. With no fear of the potential consequences, she launched into into this harrowing story (video below):

“Media bias on full display! Newspapers now cashing in on T-shirts splashed with anti-President Trump rhetoric. The Washington Post offering this shirt which says ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’ The LA Times selling shirts that say ‘Journalism matters.’ And the Chicago Tribune’s featured the line ‘Speaking truth to power since 1947.’ The shirts being sold for around twenty bucks.

[Editor’s note: Links added in case you want to witness this atrocity for yourself – or purchase one]

Where else but on Fox News could you learn that t-shirts extolling the virtues of a free press were actually attacks on President Donald Trump? Only Fox’s keen eye would notice the anti-Trump message even though there is nothing that even alludes to him. The mere suggestion that journalism might be an honorable profession is evidence of Trump hate. Recall that Trump famously declared that the media is “the enemy of the American people.” He has lashed out reporters as “liars,” “sleazy,” and “horrible people.” And when he isn’t throwing them out of his rallies and press briefings, he’s branding them as “fake news.”

Now the curtain has been pulled aside and everyone can see that any expression of support for the First Amendment is a backhanded slap at the President. So don’t be fooled by hateful slogans like “Journalism matters.” It doesn’t. It’s just a malicious tool used by traitors to undermine the Trump presidency. Thank goodness Fox News is here to reveal these truths. And for anyone who is confused as to why none of this reflects on what Fox News does, rest easy. That’s a red herring because, as any media expert will tell you, Fox News has never engaged in journalism.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s CPAC Speech: Narcissistic Blather And Incoherent Attacks On The Media

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for 2017 is currently in progress. And on Friday it featured its star attraction, President Donald Trump. Trump could have stayed home and just delivered a video from any of his campaign stump speeches. His speech (transcript) was entirely devoid of any new thoughts he might have had after being president for a month. Of course, that’s presuming he ever has any new thoughts.

Donald Trump CPAC

Trump began with a familiar topic: himself. He rambled aimlessly for several minutes about whether he had just received a standing ovation. And of course he rattled off false statistics about his allegedly record setting electoral achievements. Then, after a few minutes of right-wing boot-licking, he bragged about how much he is loved by the CPAC crowd. One of his boasts concerned how well he did in polling after his previous CPAC speeches. The truth, however, is that he lost most of the CPAC straw polls bigly. In 2015 he registered a pathetic eigth place finish with only 3.5 percent of the vote. Last year, with the presidential campaign in full swing, he finished a distant third with 15 percent.

Trump did manage to stuff in the usual conservative issues and wingnut applause lines. He promised to fight terrorism, repeal ObamaCare, deport Mexicans, cut taxes, and build a wall. And he would preside over the biggest military buildup ever, and spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, while eliminating the national debt. As usual, he provided no details as to how he would accomplish any of those fantastical goals.

Much of the speech was focused on his infamous hatred for the free press, or as he calls it, the “fake news.” He opened this part of his address with a manic declaration. “I want you all to know,” he ranted, “that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake.” Then he elaborated:

“A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, ‘Nine people have confirmed.’ There’re no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people. And I said, ‘Give me a break.’ Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. But they say ‘nine people.’ And somebody reads it and they think, ‘Oh, nine people. They have nine sources.’ They make up sources.”

Indeed, Trump railed about the media as the enemy of the American people. That’s a phrase that maligns the First Amendment, and has its roots in Mao’s China. But his mad ravings about the “nine sources” is especially puzzling. That’s because he’s referring to a story in the Washington Post about his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. The Post reported that they had nine sources affirming that Flynn had inappropriate discussions with Russian agents during the campaign. As a result of that story, Trump fired Flynn. Is he now contending that he fired his top national security aide because of a fake story with no sources? Who knows? And it doesn’t get any more comprehensible from there:

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, ‘Oh no, this is no good.’ But that’s the way they are.” […]

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. ‘A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.’ Let ’em say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

Huh? First of all, without any sources there wouldn’t be any stories. And anonymity is necessary at times when the source is threatened professionally, financially, or physically. And, of course, Trump’s administration has its own anonymous sources that pass information to the press. Will he identify them all now? The only part of that that made any sense was the part about him being a “horrible human being.”

As for Trump’s assertion that he specified only fake news as the enemy of the people, he’s right. But his assertion that reports left that word out is nonsense. In most cases cases they quoted his tweet verbatim and showed it on screen or in print. Furthermore, his tweet accusing the media of fakery was pretty broadly stated. He explicitly cited the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. Apparently, Trump regards only Fox News, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Breitbart News as non-fake. And he still isn’t through:

“They say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment. You know, they always bring up the First Amendment. And I love the First Amendment; nobody loves it better than me. Nobody. I mean, who use it more than I do? […] So just in finishing, I say it doesn’t represent the people. It doesn’t tell the – never will represent the people. And we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and have to speak our minds and we have to be honest.”

Who ever said that he can’t criticize the media? Are the voices in his head shouting louder than the Fox News blowhards on his TV? And for someone who claims to appreciate the First Amendment, he has a funny way of showing it. Friday afternoon his press secretary explicitly banned several news organizations from an informal briefing. After admitting right-wing propaganda outfits like Breitbart and the One America News Network, Sean Spicer shut the door. He refused entry to CNN, the New York Times, Politico, The Hill, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News. This is in direct contradiction of a promise he made last December that he would “absolutely not” ban any credentialed journalists. So much for fairness and transparency in the Trump press office.

So just in finishing, WTF does Trump mean when he says that the media “doesn’t represent the people” and that he’s “going to do something about it?” What exactly does he have in mind? And does he think it’s the job of the president to make the media represent the people, as he defines it?

This CPAC speech was another in long line of embarrassingly maniacal orations that have come to epitomize the Trumpian sermonizing. They are filled with lies, exaggerations, boasting, and malice toward many. And to the extent that they can be comprehended, they are almost entirely lacking in substance. Yet somehow, his glassy-eyed followers cheer wildly as if he said something that wasn’t gibberish. That may be the saddest – and scariest – part of the Era of Trump.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Watergate’s Carl Bernstein Says Donald Trump Is ‘More Treacherous’ Than Nixon

Fallout from Donald Trump’s brazenly anti-American attack on the press continues to spread. Last Friday he posted a comment on Twitter that has been universally assailed for its hostility to the Constitution and one of its most cherished principles: A free press. He tweeted:

The reaction to this nauseating tweet was immediate and profound revulsion. Needless to say, Democrats have been united in condemning these remarks. And the response from the Twitter community was a flood of disgust, along with examples of heroic journalists under the hashtag #NotTheEnemy.

Carl Bernstein

However, offense was not taken solely by Democrats and liberals. Trump’s Republican colleague, John McCain, noted that “That’s how dictators get started.” His own Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, disagreed with the “enemy” rhetoric. And in an interview with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Chris Wallace of Fox News said that Trump had “crossed the line.” “We don’t have a state-run media in this country,” Wallace told Priebus. “That’s what they have in dictatorships.”

In addition to these stinging rebukes, there was one that might pack an especially painful wallop. Carl Bernstein was half of the renowned pair of journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, that uncovered the Watergate scandal. Their investigative reporting culminated in the resignation of disgraced former president Richard Nixon. The whole story was as intriguing as any spy thriller. Nixon’s crimes included electoral corruption, perjury, pay offs, and cover ups. So it’s pretty significant when Bernstein appears on CNN and says this (video below):

“Trump’s attacks on the American press as ‘enemies of the America people’ is more treacherous than Nixon’s attacks on the press.”

Having been an eyewitness to one of America’s most notorious political scandals, Bernstein has credibility with this issue that is unparalleled. He is plainly disturbed by the language emanating from this president. If Nixon’s crimes warranted impeachment, than what does that say about Trump’s “more treacherous” behavior? Bernstein had more to say about it himself:

“It’s a demagogue’s statement.” […] “We’ve never seen in an American president such open authoritarian moves and rhetoric. This is a terrible time we’re living in.” […] “We are not enemies of the American people. In fact we’re the last resort of the American people to a dictatorial and authoritarian-inclined president.”

Trump’s slander of the media as an “enemy of the American people” is just the latest unhinged swipe he’s taken at the press. His previous assaults were castigated by groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists, who warned that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” Yet he continues to escalate a dangerous dialog that could incite violence against reporters. After all, his rabid followers take very seriously anything that he tells them. And when he tells them that the press is the nation’s enemy, to what lengths might they go to “protect” their country?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

NOT THE ENEMY: Twitter Pounds Trump’s Anti-American Attack On The Free Press

On Friday Donald Trump posted one of his most offensive tweets to date. And that’s saying something. The Twitter president continues to use the social media site as a means of lashing out against his critics. His latest tweet sinks to a new low by calling some of those critics “enemies.”

To be clear, Trump is referring to the people who practice the only profession explicitly protected in the Constitution. He is maligning thousands of dedicated truth-seekers who gave their lives to expose corruption, brutality, and deception. For all its flaws, and there are many, the press is an indispensable component of liberty in a democratic society. The toxic repulsiveness of his comment cannot be understated.

Donald Trump

The fundamental value of the media is something that Donald can never understand. Either that or he understands it all too well, which explains his hostility toward it. His repulsive tweet stirred responses from Twitizens who were justifiably outraged. Here a re few of those responses aggregated under the trending hashtag #NotTheEnemy:

Nuff said.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s ‘Enemy Of The American People’ Is A Direct Threat To The Free Press

From the outset of Donald Trump’s campaign he has made the media a target of his attacks, insults and retribution. He has called them liars and sleazy and horrible people. Keeping them penned up at his rallies was common, as was expelling those he especially disliked.

Donald Trump

Organizations that advocate for the welfare of journalists have expressed their concerns with justifiable anxiety. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Now Trump has taken his abuse a step further into an ominous future. He posted on Twitter a message that reeks of an authoritarian stranglehold on one of America’s most cherished principles. The Free Press. He tweeted:

Trump’s characterization of the press as “the enemy of the American People!” has roots in some of the most oppressive historical dictatorships. It goes back to ancient Roman times. However, it has been used as recently as the 1950’s by China’s Chairman Mao Tse-tung to suppress freedom. Trump’s usage is particularly repulsive because of the overtly violent overtones that infect so much of his rhetoric. Is he deliberately fomenting violence against the press now? As an aside, it’s curious that he thinks the media is the enemy of the American people, but that it isn’t his enemy.

In the United States, disgraced former President Richard Nixon made an almost identical statement in private. He said that “The press is the enemy, the establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy.” Sound familiar? But Trump is saying it very publicly. It’s also notable that Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Trump’s current transgressions have similar beginnings. The Republican operatives who broke into Democratic offices at the Watergate were called the “Plumbers” because their purpose was to plug up leaks. And that’s exactly the focus of Trump’s complaints.

The “enemy of the people” theme is likely the handiwork of Trump’s alt-right, white supremacist aide, Stephen Bannon. In 2012 his Breitbart News website featured a commentary by Trump supporter Pat Caddell. In it Caddell said that “The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power,” So far, so good. However, he continued to say that they have “desert[ed] those ramparts” and “made themselves the enemy of the American people.”

Mao, Nixon, Breitbart. Is there a pattern forming? Trump would be thrilled to discredit the media that he regards as the “opposition party.” Then he could rant relentlessly with his “alternative facts” and outright lies without restraint or objective scrutiny. He could rely on disreputable “news” manglers like Breitbart, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Fox News to lead his campaign of disinformation.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This needs to be taken seriously. Trump is not kidding when he says the free press is the enemy. Last October he complained that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.” Trump is actually appalled that the press can say whatever they want. It’s a freedom that he would eagerly undo given the opportunity. That would leave us with his factless accounts of a delusional world that exalts him and maligns his critics. He must be stopped by any (legal) means necessary.

Reuters Editor Warns That Covering Trump’s America Is Like Covering China, Russia

The increasing hostility toward the press from Donald Trump and his staff has resulted in a deteriorating relationship. Not that it was ever particularly healthy. Trump spent most of his campaign insulting reporters and demonizing the media in general. It got so bad that the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Donald Trump

Since the election things have not improved. Trump is still maligning mainstream news organizations as “fake news” and punishing reporters that he regards as insufficiently adoring. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, has upended the White House briefing by adding fringe “news” outlets. He is reportedly considering granting press credentials to Infowar’s Alex Jones, a notorious conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter. Meanwhile, the Trump press team has revoked press credentials for the Washington Post and other legitimate news enterprises. What’s more, they have refused to provide spokespeople to CNN for several weeks in an attempt to isolate them.

In this environment, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler wrote a memo to his reporters to guide them on how to cover Trump. The memo begins by describing the current conditions that the media face:

“The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”

Indeed, Trump has led an unprecedented assault on the free press. His attacks have been severe and personal. And in every case he is flailing wildly without offering much in the way of a rebuttal. He is only concerned with any negative impression of him, and that results in a furious temper tantrum. Adler’s approach to this behavior is to remind his reporters that they have experienced similar challenges in the past. And he provides examples to make his point:

“I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.”

So the secret to covering Trump is to apply the experience gained from covering dictators in regimes that have little respect for a free press. His advice is to be prepared for legal harassment and physical threats. Both of those are tactics that Trump has already deployed. He has said that he wants to “open up our libel laws” so that he can sue the media. And on at least one occasion a reporter required secret service protection following a Trump rally due to overt threats.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It’s fair to assume that the Trump administration will continue to foment discord with the media. Trump’s “malignant narcissism” and tendency to bully others is not likely change any time soon. Hopefully the media will have the courage and integrity to stand up to whatever is thrown at them. They are the last line of defense against the kind of tyranny that Adler warns about in his memo.

SPLIT: Trump’s Personalities Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Fox News (w/Hysterical Kimmel Video)

Donald Trump recently told a gathering at CIA headquarters that he has a “running war with the media.” That may be the first true statement he’s made as president. Throughout his campaign he has attacked the press in the most virulent terms. Advocates for journalists published a statement declaring him to be “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.” His animosity toward the First Amendment is often chaotic and downright dangerous. For instance, on Wednesday he tweeted this:

The spectacle of a sitting president complimenting a news enterprise for its ratings success is both unprecedented and unethical. In a nation that honors a free press, the government is not supposed to be taking sides in these matters. Nor is it appropriate for a president to insult the millions of viewers of CNN by implying that they are stupid.

What’s more, Trump went further with his unprincipled remarks to lambaste CNN as “fake news.” That term is already beginning to lose any meaning as conservatives apply it to any news with which they disagree. However, Trump’s use of it is blatantly vengeful. He reserves his animus for those who have the audacity to criticize him. His purpose is to delegitimize the media in general so that he can disseminate his “alternative facts” (aka lies) with impunity. As a result, he is frequently at odds with himself.

Trump Split 2

Trump has not always been so fond of Fox News. During the campaign he frequently lashed out them when they were not sufficiently complimentary. For instance:

Further more, Trump said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” And Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.”

That, however, is all behind us now. At least until the next time Fox News manages to muster up a worthy criticism. In the meantime, Trump will surely persist in castigating CNN and others for doing their job. His administration is proving to be the most hostile toward reporters in modern times. It is a troubling trend that threatens not only the press, but democracy.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to the world of comedy. His ignorant rants and obsessions with ego-driven trivialities are the basis for an endless stream of jokes. He has spent most of his first week as president whining about the turnout at his inauguration. It is eating him alive that it was so much lower than President Obama’s. That preoccupation with his hurt pride led to the infamous introduction of the absurd term alternative facts.” And when he was fixating on that he was revisiting his embarrassing loss of the popular vote.

Jimmy Kimmel is not one to let a good satire of Trump get away. Consequently, Tuesday night he put together a mock trailer for a sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s hit movie “Split.” The story revolves around a character with multiple personalities and a decidedly hostile attitude toward women. Sound familiar?

In Kimmel’s sequel the star is Donald Trump. The clip contains several instances of Trump saying one thing, then contradicting himself. It also borrows from the real film with a psychologist confronting Trump to ask “Twenty-three identities live in Donald Trump. To whom am I speaking with now?” The answers in voice-over suggest Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Rosie O’Donnell. Later the female victims plot to escape their tormentor with one proposing that “The only chance we have is if all three of us go crazy on this guy.” Then it cuts to Trump saying “I have no idea who these women are.”

The parallels to real life are a little scary. However, the hilarity falls apart when a voice is heard worrying “What will happen when he unlocks the potential of his brain?” We know that Trump himself thinks that he has “a very good brain [because] I’ve said a lot of things.” That’s also his excuse for refusing to attend national security briefings. He told Chris Wallace of Fox News that such meetings were unnecessary because “I’m, like, a smart person.”

Unfortunately, while comedians are going to be celebrating a renaissance of humor, the rest of the nation is going to be get more and more depressed. Which, ironically, will create a greater need for comedians. So in light of that, enjoy Kimmel’s version of Trump in Split and try to carry on.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.