Dear Leader Trump Proposes ‘Forcing’ the Press to Reveal Sources

Apparently Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with having utterly bungled the nation’s response the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Now he is moving on to advocate breaching the Constitution’s First Amendment right to a free press. That’s the same press that Trump routinely refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Donald Trump, Constitution

In his regularly scheduled Saturday Morning Tweetstorm, Trump was consumed by a fit of anxiety and animosity aimed at the media. It’s hard to know for certain what triggered this outburst, but it’s safe to say that it was probably something he saw on Fox News. The result was this Twitter tantrum that lashes out at some vague disturbance of Trump’s already unsettled psyche:

It’s typical of Trump to baselessly accuse the press of making up sources and stories. It’s equally typical that he never provides any documentation of his allegations, and he often doesn’t even cite the story he’s babbling about, as is the case this time. His charges are not simply venting. He specifically insists that the journalists (whom he declines to name) have deliberately invented fictional sources whose accounts are not merely untrue, they are “knowingly” non-existent. This is Trump’s way of defending himself from whatever criticism might happen to be floating around. It’s a defense that relies on the wispiest of innuendo because Trump can’t defend himself on substance.

It’s fair to say that whatever Trump is whining about is actually true. And since the facts would affirm that, he resorts to a blanket condemnation of the media in its entirety. He’s like a murderer setting an entire apartment building on fire to keep people from finding the body in #407.

It’s ironic that Trump is also complaining that the media is “dangerous and corrupt” and would “do anything to win.” That’s a darn good description of Trump himself. And anyone who has observed him for any length of time knows that projection is a key weapon in his arsenal of character assassination. But he wasn’t through bashing the press:

Trump’s problem with sources goes back many years. Never mind that unidentified sources are a valid staple of professional journalism. Trump’s White House communications staff even uses them regularly during “background briefings” where reporters are only permitted to attribute these official statements to “senior administration officials.” What’s more, as a private businessman Trump was known for acting as his own PR agent, using false names like “John Barron” to plant false stories in gossip columns to convince people that he was a rich playboy. And Trump is no stranger to exploiting the press for his own personal benefit, as he is doing by hijacking the Coronavirus Task Force briefings and turning them into Trump 2020 campaign events.

However, the worst part of this tweetfest was Trump’s suggestion that the media “should be forced to reveal sources.” That is a wholly unconstitutional abuse of power. The First Amendment clearly states the prohibition against “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That includes any attempt by the government to dictate to journalists how to source their reporting. The ability of the press to gather information from people with inside knowledge is essential to a functioning democracy. And often those people need confidentiality in order to come forward without fear of reprisal. Especially while Trump is in the White House. He is already threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of TV stations that air ads critical of him.

Furthermore, Trump’s claim that forced disclosure of sources was something that happened “in the long ago past” is downright delusional. Unless he’s talking about the past practices of the sort of tyrants and czars that he so admires (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, etc.). In which case, it’s no wonder that he yearns for the power to emulate his heroes. That is just so Trumpian. But it isn’t American. And any effort to go forward with what he’s proposing in these tweets needs to be fervently resisted by congress, the press, and all of the American people.

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

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5 thoughts on “Dear Leader Trump Proposes ‘Forcing’ the Press to Reveal Sources

  1. I don’t stress out over donnie dungbrain’s silly, unenforceable threats — he cries “wolf” every day. He has no power to do 95% of the horse-sh!t he spouts off about. He stupidly and mistakenly thinks he can intimidate people, but I think most folks are wise to him by now. This is just another impotent threat by impotus, like his bullsh!t “cease and desist” letter in response to the ad he knows is doing a great job exposing him. I am hoping the recipients of the C&D letter will reply with a “see-you-in-court-chump” letter. You know the cowardly a$$hole is not going to court — discovery would sink him, mcconnell and many of his cronies. I do hope they are telling the sniveling jerk “You want a court case? Bring it on!”

  2. “Amen to that!”
    And, after Nov. Elections remove this psychological depravity (& hopefully his GOP enablers!), Congress now needs to pass many new laws for presidents to follow…starting with NOT TWEETING THE PRESIDENCY!
    That is the weaponry of despots & dictators, not appropriate for true American Presidents! Twitter feed, like most everything else, has been abused by Trump, to our detriment. Not only does he say all the lies he wants – also attacks whomever he wants & it all goes unchallenged. 1-way communication only. He sends his shit out to millions of people, while blocking all those who may say something he doesn’t want to hear! Sad that we must make specific rules/laws cuz’ of this nasty president & his juvenile delinquent lies, attacks & crime boss mentality.

  3. He is demonstrating to us all that he is irrelevant.

  4. And a vindictive narcissist who is scared of having truths revealed. Prefers that his constant, stupid lies, be the only thing anyone gets to hear! Ha!
    If he’s re-elected, expect the Constitution to be declared null & void & democracy dead in the USA. All he needs is fake military uniform & matching hat & he’ll be “Dicktator Trump”.
    Or, is it a robe, crown & royal throne of gold?!

  5. The stations airing the ads, are just “telling it, like it is.” What’s the problem? They are RIGHT. Isn’t that what dump’s supporters LIKE about him??????????????????????????????????????????????

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