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).

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.

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.

Comey Slams Trump’s Media Bashing About Russia: ‘As Unfake As You Can Possibly Get’

Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president, and his subsequent residence in the White House, he has displayed a visceral hatred for the media. Virtually any story that was the least bit critical was branded as “fake news.”

Comey Trump

Trump is especially sensitive to allegations stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia. The linkages between himself, his family, and his associates are plentiful and disturbing. And despite the confirmation of numerous meetings and investigations, Trump stubbornly denies any relationship. His belligerent denials are a rejection of reality and often attempt to shift blame elsewhere. For instance:

Thursday’s Senate hearing with James Comey briefly, but significantly, touched on this issue. The former FBI Director was asked specifically about Trump’s characterization of the Russian interference in the election. His answer was an unequivocal repudiation of Trump’s anti-media position:

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): The President has repeatedly talked about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election cycle as a “hoax” and as “fake news.” Can you talk a little bit about what you saw as FBI Director that demonstrates how serious this action actually was, and why there was an investigation in the first place?

James Comey: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. And they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community. And the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.

What Comey is referring to is the overwhelming agreement that Russia actively interfered with the election. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies, from the State Department to the Pentagon, all independently affirm that. In fact, the only official resistance comes from the White House itself.

Having no credible argument to refute the consensus about Russia’s activities, Trump resorts to smearing the media. It’s a weak line of attack based entirely on his personal animus and driven by desperation and fear. But it’s also dangerous. Trump is purposefully denigrating an institution that is vital to the stability of a healthy democracy. He is attacking the very nature of the free press. And it is his intention to undermine the public’s confidence in all news providers. That is among the reasons that advocates for journalists branded Trump as “an ‘unprecedented threat’ to press freedom.”

Comey’s testimony reiterates what many have said before him. And it is a potent indictment of Trump’s irresponsible and reckless media bashing. And yet, the predictable result of his remarks will be an escalation by Trump of his assaults on the press. Hopefully the press will have the courage to defend their own honor and not let Trump get away with his self-serving campaign to destroy ethical journalism.

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.

SRSLY? Rudy Giuliani Says Media-Hater Trump Will ‘Get Us Back To A Free Press’

Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Friday in a successful attempt to certify his reputation as a mush-brained old coot. This pair of Donald Trump fluffers were in awe of The Donald’s performance at his press conference harangue on Wednesday. Watching Trump berate a CNN reporter for daring to ask a question struck Giuliani as respectful of a free press.

Rudy Giuliani

The exchange between Giuliani and Hannity revealed just how deranged the former mayor has become. His comments lauded Trump as a breath of fresh air and a champion of journalistic ethics. No, seriously. Take these actual excerpts for example:

Giuliani: “It is refreshing and it is very good for our democracy that we have a president that is trying to get us back to a free press.”

Unfortunately, most journalists would vehemently disagree with Giuliani’s worshipful remarks. In fact, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Trump “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” Their lengthy press release also included these criticisms:

“Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.

“He has mocked a disabled New York Times journalist and called an ABC News reporter a ‘sleaze’ in a press conference. He expelled Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference because he asked an ‘impertinent’ question, and has publicly demeaned other journalists.”

In addition to that, the National Press Club put out a statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” So the people most concerned about the welfare of journalists don’t regard Trump as either refreshing or good for democracy.

Giuliani: “[Trump] may actually reestablish journalistic ethics.”

Giuliani didn’t bother to elaborate on how Trump would do that. He must think that revoking the press credentials of reporters who don’t lavish him with praise advances ethical journalism. Among the news organizations Trump has muzzled are the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, and Univision.

Even worse, he said that CNN’s reporting about him was in some way similar to what the Nazis did. However, he never explained what the similarity was. It’s bad enough that he would trivialize the very real horrors that millions suffered. But he descends further into the unspeakably vile by claiming that he’s the victim.

Giuliani: “He’s an honest man. So they’re not gonna catch him in some kind of lie.”

This may be the best indication that Giuliani has totally lost his mind. Donald Trump is the most notoriously pathological liar that has ever run for president. He ranks at the bottom of PolitiFact’s scoring of all the presidential candidates for the 2016 cycle. See for yourself with this collection of fully documented lies: The Trump Bullshitopedia.

Giuliani was just named by Trump to lead his cybersecurity team, a position for which he is woefully unqualified. But he is even less qualified as a spokesman for journalists or the best interests of a free press. Especially if he thinks that someone with as much contempt for the First Amendment as Trump has shown could ever have a positive influence on it.

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

Trump’s Latest Tweet Threatens The Media (And Press Freedom) For Doing Their Job

Friday morning Donald Trump took another step toward the totalitarian dystopia he yearns to rule. He’s spent months disparaging the intelligence community on which he must rely. At the same time he has defended Russia from charges of hacking that has now been proven beyond question.

Trump Baby

And now he is proposing concrete actions to punish the free press that he so blatantly abhors. This is what he tweeted this morning while waiting to be briefed on the Russian hacking report:

The frightening aspects of that cannot be be understated. Trump is proposing an investigation of a news organization that did precisely what is expected of it. NBC utilized its sources to acquire government information that is relevant to all citizens. And contrary to Trump’s frantic accusation, there is no indication that any of it was top secret. The government was going to release a public version of the report anyway. NBC just scooped them.

What is apparent is that Trump is more concerned about NBC getting info that’s about to be released anyway, than he is about Russians hacking American citizens and political organizations. He is distracting from the far more significant news that Russia had helped him achieve his tainted victory. They even celebrated and congratulated themselves for their successful effort.

It’s important to note the distinction between what Trump’s allies in Russia did and what NBC did. The hackers stole private information from individuals and organizations. That data was not public property. Russia, WikiLeaks, et al, were not revealing government secrets that the people had a right to know. NBC, on the other hand did just that. The Intelligence reports they previewed were paid for by taxpayers for their benefit. So NBC was performing a public service, while Russia/WikiLeaks was invading privacy. But only the privacy of Democrats so as to assist their favored candidate, Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t care about Russians hacking an American election. He has defended them, and his BFF Vladimir Putin, from the start. Even worse, he has maligned the dangerous work of American patriots serving their country. Under the circumstances, one has to wonder why any intelligence operative would risk their life for Trump during his administration.

Trump has also been a constant foe of the free press. He has called reporters “sleazy” and “dummies” and “liars” and worse. Respected journalists had their credentials revoked to prevent them from covering his rallies. Organizations that represent the interests of journalists have condemned him as a “threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

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

That condemnation is playing out bigly today with this new attack on the press. And Trump has still never called for a congressional investigation of the Russian hacking. His whining about NBC sharing intelligence before he has seen it rings hollow. After all, it’s easy to get intelligence before Trump sees it when he doesn’t even bother to take intelligence briefings.

UPDATE: As it turns out, about six hours before Trump’s tweet WikiLeaks posted a tweet that is eerily similar:

That tweet also falsely states that the information NBC reported was “Top Secret.” And it makes the point that NBC received the info before Trump. Considering the similarities it is likely that Trump simply copied the contents of the WikiLeaks tweet for his own. And that’s just more proof that they are working together.

It’s also astonishing that WikiLeaks is complaining about “leaks” to the media. That’s their whole friggin’ reason for existing. But those dishonest hypocrites go nuts when someone else disseminates information acquired through legitimate journalistic means (as opposed to hacking and theft) if it is adverse to their partisan agenda.

Trump Threatens Freedom Of The Press With Chilling Statement On The Media

To say that Donald Trump is no friend of a free press is an understatement of Olympian proportions. His open hostility toward the media generally, and journalists individually, virtually drips with white hot hatred. And his animosity is focused solely on his own self-interest and his paranoid perception that everyone is against him.

Donald Trump

As a result, Trump has treated the press like cattle, forcing them into cramped pens at his rallies. Then he points them out to his followers as “disgusting scum” and jokes about killing them. And those are the lucky ones who didn’t have their credentials revoked.

As the campaign progresses and Trump’s prospects for victory dwindle, he is getting even more maniacal in his rage against the media. Now he has issued a statement spurred by the recent bid by AT&T to acquire TimeWarner. The content and tone of the statement should worry every American who values the First Amendment of the Constitution. It was written by his Senior Economic Advisor, Peter Navarro, and addresses a very real problem: Monopoly Power of New Media Conglomerates. The problem is that he twists the whole subject into an ego-driven tirade against his perceived enemies. It’s opening paragraph states that:

“Over a hundred years ago, a pro-business Teddy Roosevelt busted up more than 40 oil, railroad, steel and other ‘trusts’ that were wielding their rapacious monopoly power to gouge consumers and interfere with the efficient functioning of the American economy. Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

Not bad, so far. But rather than making a reasoned argument against the concentration of corporate interests, he turns it into a political diatribe. He complains that these media monopolies are “the very same media conglomerates now pushing Hillary Clinton’s agenda.” Then he singles out “NBC, and its Clinton megaphone MSNBC,” for “engag[ing] in their Never Trump tactics.” With regard to the AT&T/TimeWarner deal he ignores the anti-trust issues and instead whines about “the wildly anti-Trump CNN.”

Moving on to the newspaper sector, Trump seems to be obsessed with the ownership of the New York Times. That’s likely because one of the its biggest shareholders is the Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim. Just like with the judge in his Trump University fraud case, Trump is offended that anyone with Mexican heritage is permitted to do business in America. For the record, Slim owns 17 percent of the publicly traded Class A shares of the Times. The vast majority of the company is owned by the Sulzberger family, including the privately held Class B shares. Additionally, Slim has no representation on the company’s board of directors. So Trump’s inference of influence by Slim is entirely a product of his warped imagination.

Notice anything missing from this unhinged harangue? Trump never mentions Fox News, one of the biggest media conglomerate in the world. It’s reach extends to news, entertainment, television, films, publishing and digital media, on an international scale. It’s clear that Trump only has a problem with media monopolies that he doesn’t like. Conservative oligopolies are A-OK in his book. And if it weren’t obvious enough, Navarro went on Fox News where he was asked by Neil Cavuto if Trump aimed to break up existing media companies. Navarros’s answer: “Not this one, Neil.”

So, as long as you don’t piss off President Trump you’re free to be an abusive monopoly. Otherwise, watch out. But that isn’t how a free press works. To the contrary, that’s how a fascist dictatorship works. And Trump reiterated this position Sunday in an interview with the local CBS affiliate in Miami (video). He was asked “Do you think there is too much protection allowed in the first amendment?” He responded by advocating for the system in England where he thinks it’s easier to sue the media. Continuing, he said that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.”

Let that sink in. Trump favors a foreign system where there is no First Amendment, which he believes allows for “too much protection.” And he is troubled that the press in the United States is “allowed to say whatever they want.” OMG! Somebody needs to put a stop that sort of freedom right away. And who better than Trump, who in the same interview declares that “I’m a big believer – tremendous believer of the freedom of the press. Nobody believes it stronger than me.” Uh huh.

That must be why prominent advocates for freedom of the press have made scathing denunciations of Trump. The Committee to Protect Journalists blasted him as “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” The National Press Club condemned his anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

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

This new statement by Trump on media monopolies is just another self-serving scam intended to advance his personal interests and punish his foes. The blatant partisanship baked into it disqualifies it from serious consideration. Concentration of power in a shrinking corporate media landscape is a truly disturbing development that needs to be addressed. But it isn’t addressed by a policy of clamping down on political adversaries as revenge for honest criticism. Trump can do that on his TrumpTV, if he’s foolish enough to actually launch it. Fortunately for America, it won’t take very long for that to devolve into a HUGE and humiliating catastrophe.