Trump Justifies the Khashoggi Murder Because Saudi Arabia Said He is an ‘Enemy of the State’

In Donald Trump’s statement in support of Saudi Arabia, he began with his nationalist-inspired slogan of “America First!” Then he launched into a tangentially related rant about Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Israel. All of this to support his childish contention that “The world is a very dangerous place!” But in the process he fails to recognize that his actions are making it considerably more dangerous.

Donald Trump

What Trump’s statement has done is to grant approval to the most brutal regimes in the world to assassinate their political opponents free from worry about accountability or repercussions from the Trump White House. All they have to do is promise to buy some military gear and invest in Trump’s businesses and they can commit vile acts with impunity.

Trump said so in so many words by alluding to a $450 billion arms deal that most analysts determined doesn’t exist when he claimed it was for $110 billion. He said that it will create “hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth.” But there is no evidence that any of that is true. Trump, nevertheless, makes the case that the United States is somehow dependent on Saudi Arabia rather than the other way around. It’s a case for American weakness.

However, perhaps the most nauseating paragraph that Trump has ever published is this one wherein he actually insults the murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, and excuses the Saudis for killing him. Trump implies that it is justifiable to assassinate a government critic if he is a journalist, because he is, therefore, an “enemy of the state.” Is Trump projecting what he wishes he could do? He said that:

“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

By using the phrase that Trump made familiar in his attacks on America’s free press –“enemy of the state.” – he is expanding his view that the media are not only dangerous, but expendable, to an international audience who will use it to justify more political slayings. Trump is also taking the word of Prince Salman that he didn’t have anything to do with the murder, even though the CIA has definitively concluded that he personally ordered it.

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

Finally, Trump went on to say that “we may never know all of the facts.” Which is an insult to our intelligence agencies and their ability to conduct an investigation. Trump praises the Saudis as “a great ally” with whom he “intends to remain a steadfast partner,” and he concludes the statement the same way he began by chanting “America First!” By which he apparently means that whatever Trump thinks is in his own best interest takes priority over America’s values – or human decency.

Fox News Pushes for Lawless Tyranny in the White House: Tells Trump to Violate Judicial Rulings

The blatant biases of State TV (aka Fox News) have been well documented for many years. And particularly in the Era of Trump, their slobbering sycophancy has gone to extremes never before seen. But for most of that time they have confined their propaganda to slavishly supporting Donald Trump and falsely maligning his critics. Now they are upping their game.

Fox News, Lou Dobbs, Laura Ingraham

Throughout much of Trump’s presidency he has attempted to govern as if he had dictatorial powers. He has sidestepped Congress to issue more executive orders than any of his modern predecessors. He has interfered with ordinarily independent government agencies to impose his will. And he has implemented numerous policies that have been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. And in all of these matters he insists that he has the ultimate power over whether his initiatives are carried out.

Now Trump is getting help from Fox News in his bid to become the American Fuhrer. A pair of court decisions has inflamed the network’s hosts to the point that they are openly advocating lawlessness on the part of the White House.

On Monday night, the embarrassingly brown-nosing Fox Business host, Lou Dobbs, presided over a discussion about the court decision forcing Trump to restore the press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta. The White House’s original suspension of the pass was repudiated by most of the press corps, including the executives at Fox News (although not their on-air punditry). Following the court order, Trump issued a bizarre and unconstitutional decree that sought to enforce strict behavioral guidelines for reporters. But Dobbs and his guest Gregg Jarrett weren’t having any of it (video below):

Dobbs: Isn’t there a time where you have to just tell a district court judge to go to hell? I mean the idea that you have to follow the dicta of a district court judge and can’t make rules and can’t run the White House in the way that it has been run since time immemoriam.
Jarrett: There’s no freedom to be obnoxious and rude. There’s no freedom of the press to question the President. It’s a privilege to be there at the White House. And there are rules and norms that have always been followed. And now you’ve got a judge who has decided to expand due process beyond any resemblance of its intent.
Dobbs: He’s telling the President if the United States how to conduct business.
Jarrett: I agree with you. I would tell the judge to go to hell.

So these alleged “patriots” believe that “There’s no freedom of the press to question the President”? Apparently their constitutional education didn’t even make to the First Amendment. What’s more, they believe that they can simply tell judges to “go to hell”? That’s a form of ultra-rightist anarchy that is practiced in dictatorships, not constitutional republics. And now it’s openly advocated by Fox News, Trump’s designated media mouthpiece.

But that isn’t the end of it. Fox News host Laura Ingraham took a similar stand on different subject. Another recent court ruling found that Trump’s proposed restrictions on how and where immigrants can apply for asylum were unconstitutional. This pertains to the refugees that Trump falsely accused of being criminals and sent the military down to the border to prevent an imaginary “invasion.” In response to this ruling Ingraham lashed out saying that:

“These courts are out of control. […] Maybe it’s time to just defy these court orders and say, ‘Make me. Make me. We think your order is illegitimate.”

Once again, a Fox Newser is advising the President to violate the law, to act in contempt of court, and to impose his dictatorial will over the rule of law and the American people. This is beyond mere political advocacy. This is subjorning criminal acts. This is cheerleading for tyranny. This is profoundly disrespecting the principles enshrined in our nation’s Constitution.

And, not to be overlooked, this is being done with the full knowledge and approval of the network’s executives and owners. Fox News is acting in concert with the criminals in the White House and their accomplices in the Republican Nationalist Party.

This is a shockingly inappropriate abuse of the air waves and warrants an investigation by the FCC and the oversight committees in Congress. Just like yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is not protected free speech, compelling illegal acts on TV is not protected freedom of the press. If Sean Hannity were to look into the camera and tell his viewers to get their guns start shooting some Democrats he would be arrested immediately. This is the same thing. It’s a direct incitement to criminal activity. And Fox News needs to be held accountable.

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

Donald Trump Issues a Flagrantly Authoritarian Decree for ‘Governing the Conduct of Journalists’

The transformation of the United States presidency into the sort of dictatorship presided over by the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un has taken a frightening leap forward. Donald Trump’s manifestly autocratic tendencies are rapidly being implemented by his administration with the willing complicity of the Republican Nationalist Party and right-wing media like Fox News.

Donald Trump, Censorship

Earlier this month Trump was so rattled by the questions of CNN’s Jim Acosta that he took the unprecedented step of banning Acosta from further press conferences. That overtly unconstitutional boot-stomping of the free press was quickly repudiated by most of the press corps, including the executive class at Fox News. Although most of the on-air Trump-fluffers at Fox continued to lambaste Acosta and his audacity for exercising freedom of the press. CNN took the White House to court and a judge appointed by Trump ordered the restoration of Acosta’s press pass.

Subsequently, the White House has now drafted a set of rules of behavior that they are imposing on the journalists covering the President. It’s an egregious breach of the American principles that have long been held by a nation that reveres the role that journalism plays in sustaining democracy. But it fits nicely into the oppressive schemes of the Trump regime. Here are the salient portions of what Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff (and former president of Fox News), Bill shine, and Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have cooked up for those disobedient reporters who refuse to kowtow to Dear Leader:

“We would have greatly preferred to continue hosting White House press conferences in reliance on a set of understood professional norms, and we believe the overwhelming majority of journalists covering the White House share that preference. But, given your insistence that shared practices be replaced by ‘explicit…standards,’ this letter attempts to convert into rules the widely understood practices described in our prior letter.

  1. (1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;
  2. (2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;
  3. (3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.
  4. (4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.

“We are mindful that a more elaborate and comprehensive set of rules might need to be devised, including, for example, for journalist conduct in the open (non-press room) areas inside and outside the White House and for Air Force One.”

“The White House’s interaction with the press is, and generally should be, subject to a natural give-and-take. President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and interacts with the press in just such a way. It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events.”

It is abundantly clear that the White House intends to bully reporters so that they can force them into submission. Trump is obviously scared of having an open dialog wherein reporters can ask tough questions and challenge him when he evades answering or outright lies – as he is known to do. So he is acting out with the weakness of his character to suppress the media. And it is worth noting that there are no rules for Trump or his supplicants. He can still call reporters “stupid,” “racist,” “fake,” “enemies,” etc. He can still abuse them and threaten them and interrupt them and ultimately silence them. When he claims to want “decorum” in the White House it couldn’t be more hysterically hypocritical.

These artificial and unnecessary mandates are intended to intimidate reporters who now must consider whether merely being assertive might result in their getting banished. They will have to think twice about challenging Trump for fear of violating these ludicrous rules that no White House in history has ever required. And Trump will not hesitate to cite these strictures to cast out any journalists that upset him or are less than obedient when he orders them to sit down and shut up.

The letter says that “Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment.” That is, perhaps, the biggest lie of all. Believing in the First Amendment is not demonstrated by calling the media “the enemy of the people” and recklessly labeling any news you don’t like as “fake news.” And it certainly isn’t demonstrated by imposing strict and insulting behavioral rules on what is supposed to be a free press. But this is how Trump’s belief system works. If you aren’t sufficiently adoring of him, then anything you have to say can be suppressed and your ability to question the President – a servant of the people, not a king – can be revoked. Hopefully the remaining members of the free press will refuse to observe this atrocity and demand that Trump submit to the constitutional principles he swore an oath to defend.

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

Wannabe Dictator Trump Brags That He’s Responsible for Creating Media Haters

Apparently Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with just referring to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of people.” And it doesn’t fulfill his reckless compulsion to merely put a target on the backs of constitutionally protected journalists who are receiving more death threats than ever. Even more than threats as actual bombs have been mailed to the reporters that Trump has specifically directed his hostility.

Donald Trump

Now Trump is openly declaring his pride in creating a brigade of willfully ignorant disciples who despise the media and exacerbate a dangerous environment for journalists who just want to do their jobs. Trump is actually proud to be inciting violence at those who engage in the practice of freedom of the press as America’s Founding Fathers envisioned it. And Trump said so explicitly in an interview with Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller:

“A lot of the animosity that we have in our country is because of fake news. They’re so angry at the news. You guys are at my rallies all the time, you see the anger when I mention the words ‘fake news’ and they turn around.”

“You look at what’s going on with the fake news and the people get it. Now they get it, and you know they had a very high approval rating before I became president, and I think it’s actually a great achievement of mine. Their approval rating now is down as low as just about anybody. And much lower than your president. I actually have good approval ratings, which nobody ever writes.”

Trump is exhibiting how severely he misinterprets reality if he thinks that the country is angry at the media rather than at him. And his boasting about the Deplorables who respond with blind obedience at his rallies only reinforces the observation that he’s leading a cult, not a political party.

However, the most troubling part of these comments is Trump’s assertion that he has lowered the approval rating of the media, which he regards as a “great achievement.” He is bragging that his self-serving tantrums are negatively impacting the one profession that the framers of the Constitution saw fit to protect by name. He actually believes that disparaging the free press is a triumph of his “leadership,” when, in fact, it’s proof of his betrayal of American values.

In addition to Trump displaying his personal loathing of constitutional principles, he is also showing his flagrant ignorance and dishonesty. First of all, his claim that media approval is “much lower than your president” is easily refuted by every poll on the matter. The most recent Gallup poll puts Trump’s approval near his all-time low at thirty-eight percent. And just a couple of months ago, a Quinnipiac poll revealed that the public has far greater regard for the media than for the President. As News Corpse reported:

After his years-long campaign of denigrating the press, as well as the Constitution’s First Amendment, Trump has gotten nowhere in terms of swaying the favor of the public. A new poll by Quinnipiac asked “Who do you trust more to tell you the truth about important issues: President Trump or the news media?” A majority of fifty-four percent chose the media. Only thirty percent chose Trump. That’s a twenty-four point margin of difference. […]

The poll also asked “Which comes closer to your point of view: the news media is the enemy of the people, or the news media is an important part of democracy?” And by an even bigger majority the media came out far ahead, with sixty-nine percent saying that the media is an important part of democracy.

So Trump is both wrong on his facts and wrong to use his lies to brag about damaging America’s long-held reverence for a free press. He is wrong to encourage and embrace followers who have such open animosity for the journalists who strive to keep them informed. But of course, they are merely emulating his despicable and dangerous example. Other nationalist tyrants have sought to produce the same sort of blind loyalty that recognized only their Dear Leader as a truth-teller, and only his words as believable. Trump is, after all, the one who told his dimwitted devotees that “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” In other words my children, “Believe me, not your own eyes and ears.”

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

CNN Files Lawsuit Against Trump & Co. for Violation of the First Amendment

Last week Donald Trump’s administration was especially hostile to the press that they despise so fiercely. Trump addressed a post-election press conference and proceeded to insult several (mostly African-American women) journalists. As News Corpse noted at the time: “It was a disgraceful display of infantile tantrum throwing by our crybaby president who is too weak to face a group of reporters without breaking down into insults and bullying.”

Donald Trump, CNN

Shortly after that press conference, the White House announced that they were suspending the credentials of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta. They fabricated a story alleging that he “placed his hands” on an intern as she tried to grab the microphone away from him. However, the video of the event proved unambiguously that the White House was lying, as usual. But that didn’t stop them from distributing a “doctored” version of the video that they got from the disreputable conspiracy crackpots at Infowars.

On Tuesday morning CNN announced that they are suing Trump and his band of totalitarian oppressors of free speech. The suit explicitly cites the constitutional breach of the First Amendment’s rights to freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment rights to due process. CNN’s statement reads:

“CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court. It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN’s Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process. While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”

The lawsuit names several members of the administration who are complicit in the violation. They include Trump, his chief of staff John Kelly, his deputy chief of staff for communications (and former Fox News president) Bill Shine, and his press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It’s a confederacy of Republican Nationalists bent on subverting democracy and squelching free speech.

It would be surprising if this suit made it to court. Crybaby Trump will likely chicken out and restore Acosta’s credentials before that happens. But the damage is already done as this unlawful White House demonstrates that they couldn’t care less about America’s constitutional principles.

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

Fortunately, the next Congress plans to do something about that. Rep. Adam Schiff, the incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has told reporters that he intends to hold hearings on Trump’s reckless assaults on the press which go way beyond mere name calling as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.” It includes his use of the Justice Department to punish media organizations he doesn’t like. And because elections have consequences, he isn’t going to get away with it for much longer.

Trump’s Vicious Assault on the Free Press Wasn’t Only Jim Acosta, Included Several Other Reporters

During his post-midterms press conference, Donald Trump reignited his incendiary assault on the free press, which he refers to, in Stalinist terms, as “the enemy of the people.” It was a disgraceful display of infantile tantrum throwing by our crybaby president who is too weak to face a group of reporters without breaking down into insults and bullying.

Donald Trump

The big news from the press conference in this regard was Trump’s overheated conflict with CNN’s Jim Acosta. Trump berated him repeatedly as “rude” and unfit to be working for CNN (as if Trump is the authority on CNN’s staffing). Acosta’s offense was trying to get Trump to answer a question about his racist characterizations of the refugee “caravan.” [Side Note: notice how that issue has disappeared from Trump’s bag of distractions?] The matter was later escalated by the White House, who suspended Acosta’s pass to the premises and falsely accused him “placing his hands” on an intern who tried to grab the microphone away from him.

However, overlooked in the dust up with Acosta was the fact that he was not the only one that Trump went after. He also had words with three other long-time White House reporters from reputable news agencies. In the course of his often incoherent and childish ranting, Trump attacked these journalists as well:

To Peter Alexander, NBC: “Well I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest.” and “What, are you trying to be him [Acosta]?”

To April Ryan, American Urban Radio: “Sit down. I didn’t call you. I didn’t call you. I didn’t call you. I’ll give you voter suppression.”

To Yamiche Alcindor, PBS: “Why do I have my highest poll numbers ever with African-Americans? […] That’s such a racist question.”

Late addition, Friday: To Abby Phillip, CNN: (Asking whether Trump’s replacement for Jeff Sessions would reign in Mueller, Trump barked back) “What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions.”

It is not inconsequential that two (make that three) of these reporters were black women, and that one of them was accused of being racist. The late addition of Abby Phillip, an African American reporter for CNN, adds to Trump’s hostility toward black women reporters. For the record, Trump’s approval rating with African-Americans is actually only three percent. But when the cumulative effect of Trump’s cowardly whining is taken fully into account, it reveals a president who is actively at war with, not just the press, but the Constitution.

And that assessment is affirmed by Trump’s recent threats to pursue retaliatory investigations of his Democratic critics, and his overt warning to his own Republican colleagues to “say goodbye” if they don’t wholly “embrace” him.

These are not the acts of an American leader who respects the principles that this nation stands for. These are the acts of a wannabe dictator who is determined to usurp powers that breach the standards set by our Founding Fathers. Trump clearly is more anxious to emulate Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un than George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. And the American people – and the Congress that supposedly represents them – must not stand for it. Those who even passively allow Trump to continue down this path are complicit in his treason.

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

Sexual Predator Donald Trump Hypocritically Threatens NBC’s ‘License’ Over Weinstein Story

As his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is being grilled in the Senate, it appears that Donald Trump is striving mightily to shift attention back to himself. So naturally he’s emulating the totalitarian policies of censorship and oppression, especially with regard to the media, that he admires so much. He frequently refers to the press as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase lifted straight from Stalin era tyranny. And even after being schooled on the historical horrors of his reference, Trump persists in his flagrantly anti-constitutional harangues.

Donald Trump, Censorship

On Tuesday morning, during his regularly scheduled Twitter tirade, Trump took another swipe at the press in the most appalling terms. Beginning with his incessant repetition of his now tedious “fake news” rhetoric, Trump launches into a peculiar criticism of NBC News for their handling of Ronan Farrow’s groundbreaking expose of Harvey Weinstein:

To be sure, there were some problems with how the network dealt with the allegations Farrow unveiled. NBC’s brass did not seem to be especially supportive of his efforts. Farrow charges that they tried to prevent him from proceeding with his investigation. NBC, however, claims that they just didn’t think the story was sufficiently documented. But the network didn’t try to interfere with Farrow taking the story to another publisher. In fact, according to Farrow, they suggested it. Subsequently, Farrow’s story ignited the #MeToo movement that has brought accountability to dozens of cretinous characters in the media, business, and politics. And it isn’t over.

What makes this so unbelievable is the shocking obliviousness on Trump’s part to reignite the Weinstein scandal. Of all the people to traffic in the sewer of sexual harassment and assault, Trump would be at or near the bottom of the list. After all, there are still outstanding allegations of the most repugnant misconduct by Trump from at least sixteen women (see video below). These charges have never been properly investigated and Trump has not been held accountable, as others in public life have.

When the President of the United States is credibly charged with actual sex crimes, it ought to be addressed in the press, the Congress, and especially the courts. But Trump has been given a free pass for his assaultive acts. For him to raise the matter of similar behavior by others is an Olympic-grade feat of suppression of self-awareness and shame.

And to make matters worse, Trump adds to the remarkably amoral mindset that led to this tweet by using it as reason to punish NBC via what he calls a “Look at their license.” What exactly does he intend to look at? There is no government authority that grants licenses to news organizations permitting them to engage in journalism. In fact, the Constitution explicitly prohibits it. Perhaps Trump was aiming at the licenses of local broadcasters. But even Trump’s own FCC chief, Ajit Pai, rebuked Trump’s prior license revocation fantasies saying that “The FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content.”

So Trump is, once again, just mouthing off in total ignorance as he attempts to threaten the media and chill any effort to criticize him. That isn’t going to work any better now than it has worked in all of his previous attempts at censorship. It just certifies that he is a wannabe dictator who aspires to silence any dissenting voices, much the way his heroes, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un, have done in their countries, where free speech is a crime against the state. Consequently, Trump will have to be satisfied with his version of State TV, aka Fox News.

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

HUH? Kellyanne Conway Asks the Press ‘Why is Everybody So Obsessed with the President?’

The key surrogates in Donald Trump’s administration are a notorious confederacy of liars and knee-jerk defenders of the indefensible. People like press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the White House communications office turned obfuscation and deflection into an art form. As result, it is almost impossible to get a straight or truthful answer from this administration on any subject of importance.

Kellyanne Conway

However, they hit a new low with what may be one of the dumbest questions ever asked by a presidential spokesperson. Kellyanne Conway stopped to respond to a few questions from the press gaggle at the White House on Friday morning. Referring to the dictator-style revocation of CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, a reporter asked Conway as she walked away if Trump was “politically targeting his enemies.” That, of course, goes without saying. It’s something he has always done and no one could credibly deny it.

So naturally, Conway turns around and returns to the media scrum to deny it (video below). She began by saying that Brennan is a cable news pundit now who has “no interest in furthering the national security interests of this country.” That’s an absurd charge to make against someone who has spent his whole life in public service and particularly national security. She then complained about Brennan’s assertion that Trump did collude with Russia, saying that he should have told that to Congress when he testified before them. She added “It’s a great question. You oughta noodle it.” Really?

Conway, though, is ignoring two obvious noodlings that could explain it for her. First of all, much of Brennan’s testimony was in closed session and may very well have raised alarms about Trump’s nefarious associations with Russia. That cannot be made public. Secondly, there has been a lot of information uncovered since his congressional testimony more than a year ago that provides additional evidence of Trump’s guilt. Brennan’s conclusion that Trump did indeed conspire with Russian operatives to advance his candidacy is one that is shared by many in the intelligence community.

But when it comes to stupid questions, Conway offered one of the worst in replying to further questions by the press corps:

“Why is everybody so obsessed with the President of the United States that they can’t even begin or finish a sentence without mentioning his name five times. It’s kind of weird. And it’s infecting people on the news now who fancy themselves security experts.”

So Conway just asked a bunch of White House correspondents why they ask so many questions about the person it is their job to ask questions about. Weird. It’s like complaining about a waiter who keeps asking people what they’d like to order. What’s more, no one is has a greater obsession with the President than Donald Trump. He takes every opportunity to make sure that his name and face are plastered across all the media and that the nation’s attention is always focused on him.

So would Conway prefer that the press didn’t pay as much attention to him as they currently do? That would drive him even crazier. And it would surely be a disservice to the American people who rely on the press to keep them informed. But Conway’s question reflects the adversarial position that the Trump administration has with the First Amendment. They would love to deny the media – and the people – the critical information needed to sustain a free democracy. But then a free democracy is not what the wannabe dictator Trump wants.

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

Trump Suffers Brutal Senate Rebuke for Attacking the Free Press as ‘the Enemy of the People’

On Thursday there was a coordinated effort on the part of more than 350 independent newspapers to strike back at Donald Trump’s relentless and dangerous assault on the media. And it’s about time. As noted by one of the organizers, the Boston Globe, “This whole project is not anti-Trump. It’s really pro-press.”

Donald Trump

Naturally, Trump took time from his golf game to post tweets (three actually) criticising this overdue measure of self-defense and support for the First Amendment. Once again he demeaned the press by calling them the “opposition party.” Actually, that’s true. They are opposed to much of what Trump stands for: lying, corruption, racism, misogyny, and treason. And Trump’s GOP is defending all of those traits in this perverted White House.

Also on Thursday, the Senate passed by unanimous voice vote a resolution offered by Sens. Brian Schatz and Chuck Schumer. The resolution is focused directly at “affirming Congress’ support of the First Amendment and condemning attacks on the free press, which undermine the credibility of journalists and the press as a national institution.” What follows are some of the more pertinent passages from the text of the resolution:

Whereas the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the press from government control and suppression;

Whereas the freedom of the press—

  1. has been recognized as integral to the democratic foundations of the United States since the beginning of the United States; and< /li>
  2. has endured and been reaffirmed repeatedly throughout the history of the United States;

[…]

Whereas tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions; and

Whereas the United States, including its long-held commitment to and constitutional protection of the free press, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that:

The Senate –

  • affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people;
  • reaffirms the vital and indispensable role the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance our most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms; and
  • condemns attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as a whole as an attack on our democratic institutions.

It is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.

The fact that a resolution like this even needs to be brought up is a sad statement on the status of the United States government, and particularly the White House under Donald Trump. And its language is unambiguously aimed at Trump himself with the inclusion of the affirmation that “the press is not the enemy of the people.” Moreover, having been passed without any objections in a body controlled by Republicans is an indication that the GOP may finally be sick and tired of some of Trump’s overtly un-American tendencies.

Now if only they would see fit to challenge the President on matters like his punitive and intimidating revocation of security clearances for former intelligence officials; his assaults on the Justice Department and those conducting investigations on him; his reliance on Fox News instead of experienced national security professionals; and his predilection for lying and resorting to infantile name-calling.

And maybe, just maybe, the Congress might hold actual hearings to get to the bottom of his conspiracies with Russia and obstruction of justice. It’s their sworn duty to act as a check and balance, to hold the President accountable for misdeeds, and to offer solutions that will prevent similar problems in the future with rogue leaders and foreign attacks on America’s democracy. Is that asking too much?

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

POLL: Trump’s GOP Favors Giving Fascist Authority to the President to Shut Down Critical Media

The disintegration of American democracy continues as the Republican Party under Donald Trump embraces the politics of totalitarian dictatorships. It’s consistent with their worshipful supplication to everything that Trump does and says. Any dissent is regarded as betrayal and party members are held to strict oaths of unbending loyalty.

Donald Trump Republican, GOP

In addition to rallying behind Trump’s Stalinist rant that the media is “the enemy of the American people,” a new Ipsos poll shows that a plurality of Republicans (43%) believe that he should be able to shut down any media company that he deems is behaving badly. Can you guess which ones those would be? According to Ipsos:

“Some of the limits of public support for freedom of the press are made stark with a quarter of Americans (26%) saying they agree ‘the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior,’ including a plurality of Republicans (43%). Likewise, most Americans (72%) think ‘it should be easier to sue reporters who knowingly publish false information.”

For the record, anyone can already sue a reporter or news outlet that knowingly publishes false information. The problem that Trump and his cult following have is when reporters publish truthful and fact-checked information that exposes their lies and the damage they are doing to the country. Their attacks on the press are not intended to produce either fairness or balance. They are intended to intimidate journalists and to poison the minds of the Deplorables so that they trust no other source than Dear Leader.

This strategy is also seen in Trump’s determined efforts to threaten reporters with banishment from White House events and the revocation of their licenses. And his relentless castigation of the media as “sleazy,” “disgraceful,” “horrendous”, “liars,” is bound to lead to violence. Meanwhile, his communications office has made the daily press briefings irrelevant. For one thing, they are hardly daily. There were five briefings in June and only three in July. And when they are held the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, spends most the time evading questions, haranguing reporters, and exalting Trump.

The good news is that, despite the worst efforts of Trump and the GOP to denigrate the press, the American people consistently say that they trust the media more than they trust the President. Perhaps the fact that Trump is the most documented pathological liar that’s ever occupied the White House has something to do with that opinion.

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