Jeff Flake Castigates Trump’s ‘Disgraceful’ Assault on the Free Press with Comparisons to Stalin

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate Wednesday that took Donald Trump to task for his attacks on the free press. Trump has been stomping on the First Amendment for the past couple of years with the intention of delegitimizing the only non-governmental institution that can hold politicians like Trump accountable. Trump needs to make certain that his base will reject the media when it is critical of him. And like every other cult leader, his goal is to insure that he is considered the only source of truth.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

Flake’s speech dived deep into Trump’s thinly veiled aspirations for dictatorship. And he did a good job of highlighting the close relationship between Trump’s rhetoric and that of notorious tyrants of history. What follows are some excerpts of Flake’s address that are particularly relevant. And the full video is posted below.

“Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

“And of course the President has it precisely backwards. Despotism is the enemy of the people. A free press is the despot’s enemy. Which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him ‘fake news,’ it is that figure who should be the person of suspicion, not the press. […] And so, we know well that no matter how powerful, no president will ever have dominion over objective reality. No politician will ever tell us what the truth is, and what it is not.”

“No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to those assaults on our institutions. And an American president who cannot take criticism, who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame, is charting a very dangerous path. And a congress that fails to act as a check on the President adds to that danger. Now we are told via Twitter that today the President intends to announce his choice for ‘The Most Corrupt and Dishonest Media Awards.’ It beggars belief that an American president would engage in such a spectacle. But here we are.”

“This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President. Not only has this past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has now in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. That is reprehensible.”

This speech clearly expresses what’s wrong with a president who seeks authoritarian powers and disrespects freedom of the press. It’s unfortunate that Flake waited to give it until after he had announced that he is not running for reelection. And it would be nice if his words were matched with actions that actually held Trump to account. Sadly, politicians often delay any display of courage until after they’ve quit being politicians. Let’s see if Flake, or any of his colleagues, will put some muscle behind their words and do what must be done when a president so badly violates his oath of office: Impeachment.

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

Trump’s Zeal to Reform ‘Sham’ Libel Laws Would Expose Him to 100’s of Defamation Lawsuits

Donald Trump opened a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning by welcoming the press to “the studio.” It may have been a sarcastic remark, but it reveals his tendency to view everything from the perspective of a former reality TV game show host which, of course, he is. The portion of the meeting that was allowed to be televised just went downhill from there.

Donald Trump

The cringeworthy public appearances by this president continue to mount, although he seems to be entirely oblivious to how embarrassing they are. Underscoring that, during this cabinet meeting Trump made a point of exalting his own performance during an addled immigration PR stunt on Tuesday. He said that reporters had sent him emails calling it “One of the greatest meetings they’ve ever witnessed.”

WTF? That’s just more proof that he’s totally nuts. The meeting was an unmitigated bore except for the part when he zoned out and accidentally endorsed a “clean” DACA bill. He had to be bailed out by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, but he still didn’t appear to grasp what he said that was wrong. And I’d love to see those alleged emails. Given Trump’s reputation as a notoriously pathological liar, it’s fairly certain that no such emails exist.

Most of the televised meeting was consumed by Trump praising himself for things he never did. The only part of the meeting that covered anything substantive was when Trump made a plea to reform libel laws. He said that:

“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts. If somebody says something that is totally false, and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, libeled, will have meaningful recourse.

“Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness. So we’re gonna take a strong look at that. We want fairness. You can’t say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account.”

Let’s set aside for the moment that no one in America has made more knowingly false, defamatory comments than Donald Trump. And frequently they served to enrich him. But make no mistake, this is a blatant attempt to seek revenge against anyone who dares to be critical of Trump. He is striking back at Michael Wolff, the author of “Fire and Fury,” and the members of his staff who were quoted in the book. He is targeting those behind the Steele Dossier and the news organizations that published it. This is a position that threatens freedom of the press, which he has made a priority of his presidency.

What’s interesting about this, however, is that the proposed reforms he would consider would very likely backfire. No one has exposed himself to more potential libel allegations than Donald Trump. Every time he calls a reporter a liar, or asserts as fact that unnamed sources don’t exist, or alleges that a story was deliberately made up, Trump is slandering those reporters and harming their reputations and careers. Every time he lashes out with his juvenile nicknames at people he is claiming are “lyin,” “failing,” or “crooked,” he is asserting a falsehood that could trigger litigation under his reform.

And then there are the outright lies that Trump has told about his critics and political foes. Think of the lawsuit that might have been filed after Trump accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Could President Obama have sued after being charged with wiretapping Trump? There have been literally hundreds of comments and tweets by Trump that were demonstrably false, but manifestly injured their targets. For instance, what about the sixteen women who have spoken out about Trump’s sexual abuse? He called every one of them liars. One of them (so far) has filed a defamation suit which Trump, ironically, is seeking to have dismissed. So much for opening up the libel laws.

It’s plain that Trump’s only purpose here is to silence his critics. There are plenty of safeguards in current law that protect people from deliberate slander and libel. Even if committed by the media. The truth of that is demonstrated by Trump’s own lawyer who just filed a defamation lawsuit against Buzzfeed for publishing the Steele Dossier. He’ll have his day in court (which he’ll likely end up regretting). But Trump isn’t interested in truth. He’s seeking the sort of tyrannical control of the press that all dictators lust after. But he is to stupid to recognize how destructive it would be to democracy. If the consequences weren’t so horrendous, it might actually be fun to let Trump have his way and then see how many people sue him.

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

Trump ‘Honored’ by Journalists’ Organization for ‘Undermining Global Press Freedom’

Many American presidents have had a contentious relationship with the press. At times it has become a bitter rivalry wherein the media was regarded as a troublesome annoyance that embraced deliberate biases. But most of the time there remained a deep-rooted respect for the freedom of the press and the crucial role it plays in a democracy.

Donald Trump Censorship

All of that changed when Donald Trump was inaugurated January 20, 2017. Trump has been more openly hostile to the media than any chief executive before him. His hatred is expressed bluntly with insults and accusations that exceed reasonable criticism. He calls out reporters by name as “sleazy,” liars,” and “horrible people.” On more than one occasion he has labeled the press as “the enemy of the American people.” That isn’t a critique, it’s a declaration of war.

Last week Trump announced that he would be hosting an event to commemorate “The Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year.” It’s just the sort of shallow stunt to be expected from a former reality game show TV host. And Trump’s dimwitted predictability removes any sense of excitement the event might have had. Let’s face it, CNN, the New York Times, and the like will dominate his phony ceremony.

In anticipation of this dull affair, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has produced their own roster of honorees that they dubbed The Press Oppressors Awards:

“Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump’s announcement via Twitter about his planned “fake news” awards ceremony, CPJ is recognizing world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media.”

The CPJ bestowed their awards on several world figures whose record of oppression and censorship was noteworthy for their severity and brutality. Not surprisingly, Trump was honored twice. The headline award that Trump snagged was for “Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom.” The CPJ wrote that Trump:

“…has consistently undermined domestic news outlets and declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders such as Xi, Erdo?an, and Sisi. Authorities in China, Syria, and Russia have adopted Trump’s ‘fake news’ epithet, and Erdogan has applauded at least one of his verbal attacks on journalists. Under Trump’s administration, the Department of Justice has failed to commit to guidelines intended to protect journalists’ sources, and the State Department has proposed to cut funding for international organizations that help buttress international norms in support of free expression.”

Trump was also recognized as the runner up for “Most Thin-skinned.” Given his notorious narcissism and thirst for revenge, He must have been a fierce challenger for this award. The CPJ’s decision rested on Trump’s threat “to ‘open-up’ U.S. libel laws, sue news outlets, and subject their broadcast licenses to review.” And surely his posting of more than 1,000 tweets critical of the press contributed to his showing in this category.

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

The honorees for these awards are a sinister lot that includes. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, President Xi Jinping of China, and Trump’s BFF, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. That’s auspicious and foreboding company, but it accurately represents the tenor and the harm for which Trump’s presidency is responsible. And it’s a far more honest ceremonial observance than the one Trump is planning for next week (if he even bothers to follow through).

To CNN’s Jake Tapper: You HAVE Wasted Enough of Your Viewers’ Time, So Stop Doing It

On Sunday morning’s episode of CNN’s State of the Union, there was a remarkable interview by Jake Tapper. His guest was Donald Trump’s senior advisor for policy, and thirty-two year old man still stuck in a temper tantrum he began as a five year old, Stephen Miller. The segment (video below) was a train wreck due to Miller’s relentless interruptions and shameless Trump-fluffing.

CNN Stephen Miller

Tapper took a fair amount of abuse from Miller who accused him of being condescending, snide, and joyful for opportunities to “stick the knife in.” These personal insults were designed to evade the actual questions that Tapper asked. For instance, Tapper inquired twice whether Trump met with the people that attended Don Jr.’s meeting with Russians at Trump Tower, as Steve Bannon said. In the course of Miller’s evasion, he never denied that Trump met with those Russians.

The majority of the interview consisted of Miller fawning over his boss. He described Trump as a political genius who “took down the Bush dynasty, took down the Clinton dynasty, took down the entire media complex.” Miller’s adoration of Trump was all-consuming and more than a little nauseating. He refused to allow a question to interrupt his arrogant filibustering. Which led to Tapper reclaiming control of his show and muzzling Trump’s unhinged attack dog:

“Okay, you’re not answering the questions, I get it. There’s one viewer that you care about right now and you’re being obsequious, you’re being a factotum in order to please him. And I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”

With that, Tapper went to a commercial. This was exactly how a journalist with integrity should behave under these circumstances. It’s one thing to assure that all sides have an opportunity to be heard, but it’s something else to permit a political shill to hijack a news program for the purpose of force-feeding propaganda to the audience. If an interview subject is more interested in spewing talking points than honestly answering questions, then the interview should be terminated. One measure of Tapper’s correctness is the rage-soaked and delusional response he got shortly after from Trump:

While Tapper did exactly the right thing in this instance, he and most other TV reporters too often let themselves be exploited by partisan mouthpieces. It’s a game that Trump has benefited from since his first day as a presidential candidate. Every news network routinely broadcast his rallies in their entirety, despite the fact that they rarely contained anything that was newsworthy. And as President, Trump has dispatched surrogates like Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders who view their jobs as being willing to lie without restraint in the service of Trump’s ego.

The media needs to reevaluate its relationship to this presidency. There has never been an administration that was so openly hostile to the press. Nor, ironically, one that so flagrantly exploits the press to deceive the public and advance such a brazenly dishonest agenda. Trump loves to bash the media that he relies on to disseminate his hatred for it. And there is no reason that the media should tolerate that.

The press needs to cut off right-wing trolls more often, and refuse to host those who repeatedly lie. They have to stop hiring bootlickers (like CNN’s Jason Miller and Jack Kingston), who add little substance to any debate and are as predictable as the sunrise. The media must recommit itself to its core mission of informing the public and exposing the truth. Hosting people like Stephen Miller does not advance that goal. CNN isn’t helping itself or the country by hosting pathological liars. That’s what Fox News is for.

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

Donald Trump ‘Absolutely Believes in the First Amendment’ – And Won’t Rest Until It’s Dead

Okay, so it’s still only the first week of the new year. Nevertheless, the reigning champion of flagrant dishonesty, Donald Trump, is making a strong showing for Lie of the Year 2018. In 2017 PolitiFact “honored” him for his relentless insistence that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was a hoax. Trump stubbornly maintained that he believed Vladimir Putin’s denials more than the conclusions of every American intelligence agency that investigated the issue.

Donald Trump

And now the White House has made a declaration so absurd that it has jumped to the head of the pack for this new year of presidential lies. During the daily briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to comment on Trump’s regard for the First Amendment. She replied that:

“The President absolutely believes in the First Amendment. But as we’ve said before, the President also believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact when it certainly and clearly is not.”

Whenever one asserts their belief in a core constitutional principle, it’s bad form to follow it with “but…” And in this case the qualification is outright bizarre. To suggest that Trump gives a damn about “making sure that information is accurate” flies in the face of his lie-riddle Twitter feed. He has a deep rooted aversion to the truth and he proves it every day. What’s more, the Washington post has documented almost 2,000 lies Trump has told since his inauguration.

The specific lie featured here is especially egregious because Trump’s fealty to the First Amendment has always been a bad joke. After all, Trump has been attacking the free press since he launched his presidential campaign. He routinely refers to it in general terms as “fake news.” He has vilified reporters as “liars, sleazy,” and “horrible people.” And he famously called out the media in Stalinesque terms as “the enemy of the America people.”

The question that drew Sanders’ response was specifically about Trump’s reaction to the new book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury. He had his lawyers threatened to sue the author and his publisher. Included in the threat was a demand that strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. The letter warned that:

“Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the Book.”

So the President who “absolutely believes in the First Amendment” is attempting to force a journalist to halt publication of a book that is critical of the President. That is such an obvious contradiction in terms that it strains credulity. But it fits neatly into a pattern of oppressive behavior that is typical of Trump. There has never been a president who was more hostile to the First Amendment and those whose profession relies on it. The assertion that he believes in the First Amendment is nothing more than an acknowledgement that it exists. But he clearly regards it as an obstacle to his tyrannical aspirations and is doing everything he can to kill it.

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

Impeach Now: Trump’s Hateful, Deranged Twitter Tirade Affirms His Total Mental Collapse

Where’s the bottom? Donald Trump is rapidly declining into a state of utter psychological incapacitation. The evidence has been apparent for years. But since becoming president the severity of his disturbance just keeps getting worse. It is unthinkable that such a diseased mind can actually occupy a position at the helm of the greatest power on Earth.

Donald Trump

This is not a common case of partisan political differences. Trump is spiraling into a profoundly dark space wherein nothing but his ego and grim hallucinations govern official acts. In just the past few days he has raged about not being chosen Time Magazine’s Person of the Year; he insulted soldiers deployed in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving; and his anti-media tweet helped slave traders in Libya.

This is not normal. It’s dangerous. And it’s getting worse. On Tuesday there were reports that he is regressing back to his birther beliefs that President Obama is Muslim born in Kenya. He is even telling confidants that the Access Hollywood video, where he bragged about committing sexual assault, isn’t him. That’s after he previously admitted that it was and apologized (just before hyping his new hotel).

On Wednesday morning Trump devolved further into his dementia. A series of tweets show that he is unarguably unfit to serve as president. Some of them were a continuation of his campaign against the free press. For instance:

Many politicians have had disputes with the media, but no president has ever advocated boycotting a particular network because he didn’t approve of the coverage. What’s more, Trump’s boycott threat is somewhat absurd considering that he has been doing that for nearly a year already.

Next Trump dived into the issue of sexual harassment with tweets about the firing of Matt Lauer. The irony is thick considering his own disgusting record of abuse and assault. However, typical of his malady, he drifted manically off the subject:

Trump’s repetitive whining about “fake news” is just getting tedious. He never actually proves any of his complaints, or even offers examples. It’s just a mindless flood of invective aimed at his perceived enemies. In this case, no one knows what the hell he’s referring to with regard to NBC News chairman Andy Lack or the others that he thinks should all be “terminated.” However, his swipe at Joe Scarborough is more proof that he’s living in a fantasy world. The incident that he wants investigated is neither a mystery nor unsolved.

Furthermore, it’s his favorite network, Fox News, that is by far the most mired in sexual harassment and abuse. It has already jettisoned its CEO (Roger Ailes), it’s biggest star (Bill O’Reilly), and several other prominent figures on the air and in the executive suites. The culture of misogyny continues at Fox with daily segments that disparage women on the news and their own personnel.

Where Trump really exhibits serious mental infirmity that calls into question his sanity is with his tweets of videos of alleged Muslim violence. The problem is that he’s retweeting a notorious British Islamophobe and an official with Britain First, a white nationalist organization. She is a convicted racist who has previously posted content that was proven to be hoaxes. Naturally, none of the videos in Trump’s tweets were verified as authentic.

Why would the President of the United States disseminate dubious materials whose only purpose is to incite hatred and violence? Trump would never post videos of the vast majority of responsible Muslims helping their community or country. He is focused squarely on creating more hate and division. It’s an obsession. Even the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, lashed out at Trump’s recklessness saying that “Britain First seeks to divide communities in their use of hateful narratives which pedal lies and stoke tensions. […] It is wrong for the President to have done this.”

On top of that, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, is an enabler of Trump’s lunacy. When asked about the sketchy source for the videos he retweeted she gave an almost unimaginably obtuse reply:

“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about. That’s what the president is focused on.”

She is actually saying that it doesn’t matter if the videos are fake. This from the administration that constantly (and dishonestly) calls all media, except for Fox News, fake. Never mind that. Trump is allowed to promote phony videos any time he wants, even if they are openly bigoted hoaxes intended to incite violence.

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

The longer Trump is in office, the more perilous America’s future. If he doesn’t start a war with North Korea or Iran, he’ll incite white riots here at home. His muddled brain is too dysfunctional to perform his job and, if special counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t take him out of the game, then Congress and any sane members of the administration have to do it. And judging by the rapid descent he is showing, they don’t have much time.

Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Media Bashing on Twitter Helps Slave Traders In Libya

The debate over Donald Trump’s obsession with disgorging himself on Twitter has stirred a variety of opinions. Many people say he is reckless, insulting, and childish, and that his outbursts can be damaging to American interests. Others say he is just just expressing himself and it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Those in the latter groups are wrong.

CNN Kellyanne Conway

On Saturday Trump post a tweet that, on the surface, appeared to be typical Trumpian bluster. It was another assault on the free press that he despises so furiously. This particular message was directed at CNN’s international news bureau:

Needless to say, Fox News is only important to conservative partisans who need reinforcement of their political prejudices and deceit. It’s a vital outlet for right-wingers who can’t think for themselves. But the more disturbing part of this tweet is Trump’s slander of a major American news source and its international journalists who risk their lives to tell stories critical to the welfare of the our country and our world. And the damage that Trump’s infantile tantrums can cause was just revealed in a horrific way, as reported in The Guardian:

“A tweet by Donald Trump accusing CNN of purveying ‘fake news’ has been seized on by Libyan media to challenge a report by the US broadcaster which suggested modern day slave auctions were being held in the country. […] in a sign that the US president’s persistent attacks on the credibility of American news outlets has a real world effect, the broadcaster Libya 218 used the tweet to question the credibility of the CNN video.”

In other words, the perpetrators of slave trade in Libya were caught in the act, but were able to dismiss the charges using Trump’s criticism of CNN as proof that their reporting can’t be trusted. The Guardian’s story went on to say that Libyan broadcasters regarded CNN’s reporting as an effort “to secure an as yet hidden political objective.”

So what Trump has done is to assist the slavery market in Libya, and everywhere else, by telling the world that the President of the United States thinks CNN’s reporting is fake. That message can and will be extended to all other criminal activities uncovered by dedicated and courageous journalists. And this is precisely what Trump intends. He hopes that his media smear campaign will have the same effect domestically as his own crimes are revealed.

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

When special counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation, the press will report his findings related to Trump’s collusion with Russia, his financial corruption, and his attempts to obstruct justice. When those reports come out Trump will slander them as fake and hope to avoid the consequences of his lawless depravity and greed. But he may have more trouble with the American press than its counterparts in Libya. With the exception of Fox News, we don’t have a state-run media in the U.S.

Fox News Anchor Scolds His Fox News Colleagues for ‘Bashing the Media’

There’s a peculiar thing about Donald Trump’s campaign against the First Amendment and freedom of the press. That’s how much he actually relies on the press to spew his propaganda and lies. Without the media broadcasting his hate speech who would know about it?

Fox News Chris Wallace Sean Hannity

To be sure, he has Fox News, the PR division of the Trump administration. And for some reason they are always left out of any criticism that the President has of the “mainstream” media, despite being the top rated cable news network. For the most part, Fox News is a willing accomplice in the murder of the media. They lay it on more thickly than any other network. And they never seem to grasp the irony that they are demeaning the news business that they pretend to be a part of.

Apparently that obliviousness has finally worn through to at least one member of the Fox team. Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, addressed this issue in an interview with ABC News and was not shy about expressing that “It bothers me.”

“I don’t like them bashing the media, because oftentimes what they’re bashing is stuff that we on the news side are doing. I don’t think they recognize that they have a role at Fox News and we have a role at Fox News. I don’t know what’s in their head. I just think it’s bad form.”

Make no mistake, he’s talking about his fellow Foxies Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the vegetative Trump bots of Fox and Friends – among others. Wallace seems to recognize that their knee-jerk assaults on any less than flattering coverage of their Orange Messiah isn’t in the best interest of journalism. And the manner in which he dresses them down is a scathing rebuke. Although he may be pulling punches by assuming that there’s “something” in their heads.

ABC News noted the obvious in their commentary, writing that Fox News is “the preferred network for conservatives.” And they cited a study by Media Matters that revealed the depth of Fox’s bias. For instance, Sean Hannity “criticized the press in 90 percent of his monologues from May 15 to Sept. 1.” And that he “used the term ‘fake news’ 67 times.” But something else stood out that makes the glaring prejudices of Fox even more appalling:

“As president, Trump has given interviews to Fox News more than any other outlet, but he has favored Hannity and other supportive hosts like Jeanine Pirro and Jesse Watters. News anchors Wallace, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith and chief White House correspondent John Roberts have been shut out.”

So even while Trump favors the garden variety sycophants at Fox, he is careful to narrow his exposure to only the most slobbering drool merchants at the network. He steers wide of anyone that might accidentally stumble over some honest journalistic principles. Even the Fox News version of a reporter must be avoided at all costs. Trump is only comfortable talking to mindless disciples. Lucky for him, there is no shortage of them at Fox News – or in their audience.

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

POLL: Ignorant Trump-loving Republicans are cool with government shutting down media it doesn’t like

For nine months Donald Trump has been steering the country into something that more closely resembles a fascist dictatorship. His tendency toward a strict authoritarianism is evident in almost everything he does and says. And the fact that he has issued more executive orders at this point in his presidency than any president in fifty years affirms his inherent imperialism. Particularly since he was a fierce critic of executive orders when President Obama was issuing them.

Donald Trump Voter

A new poll shows that Trump’s view of government supremacy has caught on with the Republican Party. The numbers are disturbing for a supposedly free democracy that cherishes a free press. Overall forty-six percent of respondents said that “the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump.” Even Trump was so moved by this poll that he tweeted about it Wednesday night (FYI: Trump’s tagging of Fox News is curious. They had nothing to do with this poll):

Indeed, it is much worse. But not in any way that Trump understands. Those numbers are heavily weighted by the views of Republicans. For GOP respondents alone it’s seventy-six percent who believe that bad Trump press is made up. It isn’t difficult to figure out where they got this idea from. Trump has been smearing the media for at least two years. His criticisms are not rational observations of press reporting. They are vicious insults and unsupported condemnations of journalists he says are evil. Just last week he told a radio talk show host that:

“I thought after I won, the media would become much more stable and much more honest. They’ve gone crazy. CNN is a joke. NBC is a total joke.”

In other words, he thought the media would bend to the demands of those in power. Why else would journalists behave differently toward a candidate than a president. What’s more, he isn’t complaining about a particular story. He’s trashing whole networks as “jokes.” His undisguised purpose is to destroy the people’s faith in journalism as a whole. He wants people to believe no one but himself and his official proclamations on Twitter.

The consequences of his relentless propaganda have taken a toll. That’s how you end up with three-quarters of the GOP essentially opposing the First Amendment. And it gets worse. The poll also asked whether “the government should have the power to revoke broadcast licenses of major news organizations that it says are fabricating news stories about a president or the administration.” On this question as well there was a sharp partisan divide. Forty-six percent of Republicans said the government should have such power. Another twenty-one percent were undecided. So two-thirds of Republicans are comfortable with the government being able to shut down media based on content.

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

These are the views of a segment of the electorate that has been brainwashed to accept policies that are wholly un-American. Imagine what these same people would have thought if President Obama ever suggested taking such action. But they are perfectly fine with handing Trump the power to strip away the nation’s constitutionally protected press freedoms. That isn’t political partisanship. It’s cult worship. And it’s a dangerous trend that threatens the future of the American experiment in democracy.

Despite the foregoing, Americans still trust the media more than they trust the pathological liar in the White House. Funny, Trump has never tweeted about that.

What Wannabe Dictator Trump Just called Freedom of the Press is ‘Disgusting’

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was first for a reason. It incorporates some of the most cherished and essential principles to maintaining America’s experiment in democracy. Among them is the explicit protection of freedom of the press. The Constitution doesn’t say anything about liking it or approving of its contents. But the unfettered freedom to investigate and report the news is sacrosanct.

Donald Trump

That’s why Donald Trump’s repeated assaults on this freedom are so appalling. He’s spent much of the past two years maligning the very notion of a free press. He calls anything that isn’t sufficiently adoring “fake news,” and personally insults honest journalists. His hostile rhetoric has even led to physical attacks and death threats to reporters who are just doing their jobs.

At a press avail Wednesday morning Trump lashed out again. This time he took aim directly at the First Amendment’s freedom of the press (video below). The attack came during a state visit by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Reporters asked Trump about recent reports that he had inquired about increasing the American nuclear arsenal. Trump denied that he ever discussed the matter and called the reports “fake news” by NBC. And then he added this:

It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it. […] And then they have their sources that don’t exist. In my opinion they don’t exist. They make up the sources. There are no sources.

Oh yeah. It’s so disgusting that the press gets to write whatever they want. Who’s responsible for that? Somebody has to do something about it. Before you know it they will expect to get away with criticizing the President and not land in jail. Trump must wonder how Vladimir Putin manages to lock up – or kill – critical journalists without any opposition to speak of.

Clearly that’s a goal for this president. He has taken this same position before. Last year he unleashed a particularly abhorrent rant wherein he called the press “the enemy of the American people.” And he fretted over the fact that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.”

When someone articulates such a plainly authoritarian stance once, it might be considered a gaffe. When it’s repeated multiple times, it’s a mission. Donald Trump has no understanding of, or respect for, the Constitution. And he will abuse it at will if given the opportunity. That opportunity must be withheld from him at all costs. And if his handlers or the Congress won’t do it, than it’s up to the American people. RESIST! IMPEACH!

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