Wannabe Dictator Trump Proposes Banning Reporters He Doesn’t Like From the White House

The legacy that Donald Trump has said he wants to follow him when his presidency is over is that he exposed the “massive dishonesty in the Fake News.” He’s as likely to be remembered for that farcical delusion as for being the first man to walk on the moon. But history will undoubtedly record him as one of the most antagonistic presidents toward the Constitution’s protection of a free press.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

As if to secure that title for posterity, Trump tweeted on Saturday morning what amounts to threat aimed at a news enterprise that he has long despised – The Washington Post. Trump’s festering hatred for the Post stems from his paranoid aversion to any media that has the audacity to tell the truth about him because he knows what that will lead to. He said that…

In that missive Trump achieved an impressively manic Level Four Fury by packing the adjectives “nasty, lightweight, disgusting,” and “fake,” all into one tweet. But worst of all, he proposed that the Post reporters be banned from White House grounds simply for doing their job. That’s typical of Trump’s raging authoritarian tendencies, wherein he believes that he has the right to pick and choose who is allowed to be a journalist.

He’s tried this twice before in recent weeks when he attempted to revoke the White House credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta and Playboy columnist Brian Karem. In both cases Trump lost in court and the journalists’ credentials where restored. This obviously gnaws at Trump who has openly yearned for the sort of tyrannical control of the press that his pal Vladimir Putin enjoys.

What Trump was reacting to was a Washington Post article by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker that accurately described Trump’s wasted summer of embarrassment and failure. The headline read “Trump’s lost summer: Aides claim victory, but others see incompetence and intolerance.” The article was well sourced throughout and painted a clear picture of…

“…what some Trump advisers and allies characterize as a lost summer defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities. […] The two months between Independence Day and Labor Day offered a fresh and vivid portrait of the president as seen by Trump’s critics — incompetent, indecisive, intolerant and ineffective.”

Trump included in his tweet a link to an op-ed by his press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, in the wingnut Washington Examiner. She tried to counter the Post’s article with examples of positive news stories about Trump that she said the Post ignored. The only problem with that was that the Post actually did cover those stories at the time. It’s astonishing that an alleged “press secretary” could write such a poorly researched op-ed, or that anyone would publish it. As for the Post, their executive editor, Marty Baron, defended his reporters and blasted Trump saying that:

“The president’s statement fits into a pattern of seeking to denigrate and intimidate the press. It’s unwarranted and dangerous, and it represents a threat to a free press in this country.”

That’s the Trump Media Doctrine in a nutshell. His paranoia and fragile ego drive him to attack the press with unsubstantiated charges of fakery and the infamous Stalinist rhetoric that “the media is the enemy of the people.” His hostility toward unfettered journalism even extends to friendly media like Fox News who Trump recently lambasted as “not working for us anymore,” and ordered his cult followers to “start looking for a new news outlet.” And on Friday he summoned Fox’s White House correspondent, John Roberts, to the Oval Office for an official spanking because he wasn’t worshipful enough.

So there is no one in the media who is safe. Trump will viciously assault his critics. And he will callously abandon his friends. He demands unwavering loyalty and the pure exaltation of Dear Leader. In order to avoid his wrath you must hate those whom he hates. And you must defend him at all times, no matter how foolish or contrary to American principles. And unfortunately, there are those in both the right-wing media and the Republican Nationalist Party who are all too willing to comply with those political terms of enslavement.

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

Hair Trump Declares that ‘Something Has to Be Done’ About CNN Exercising Free Speech

The hostility that Donald Trump has shown for the media has been a constant dating back to his first days on the campaign trail. It only escalated as time went by and his insults became anti-constitutional assertions that the media is “the enemy of the people.” Add to that his overt threats, incitements to violence, and banning of reporters he doesn’t like, and you have the very model of a modern media oppressor.

Donald Trump, CNN

On Monday morning Trump reached another new low in his assaults on the free press. In a pair tweets the President attacked his favorite nemesis, CNN for having a “powerful voice” that is “portraying the United States in an unfair and and false way.” He tweeted that:

Make no mistake, this is a full frontal attack on the First Amendment of the Constitution. Trump has no business commenting on the ratings of a news network that covers his corrupt and criminal administration independently and accurately (FYI: CNN is enjoying some of their highest ratings in the network’s history). Especially considering that he has already tried to ban their White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, from the presidential press corps, but lost when a federal court issued a temporary restraining order to prohibit his flagrant discrimination.

However, even worse is Trump’s proposal that the United States start its own “Worldwide Network” to disseminate what can only be presumed to be Trump-fluffing propaganda. The notion that the U.S. should launch a network to compete with commercial news outlets around the world is a frightening expansion of government interfering with the press. It is the sort of state-run tripe that totalitarian regimes like that of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kin Jong Un engage in. And note that Trump admits that his intention Is to produce only positive propaganda that portrays him as “GREAT!”

The U.S. already has government media services that distribute approved content around the world via the United States Agency for Global Media (formerly that Broadcasting Board of Governors). That agency runs the Voice of American, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and other government managed broadcast operations.

But what Trump is proposing is something far more ambitious and dishonest. He wants a network that competes with commercial news enterprises like CNN, SKY News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and more. He wants a network that will always praise him, defend him, and malign his critics. He wants constant adulation and coverage that portrays him as the returning Messiah. He wants cult worship.

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

Well, Fox News is already doing that. But setting that aside, presidential hero-worship is not the role of a government that was founded on the principles of freedom of the press. It is neither honest nor ethical. And there is no agency under federal law that could house such a media mutation. But it does display the aspirations of a wannabe dictator who is obsessed with controlling all of the media that covers him and his regime. And it is no surprise that Trump is openly advocating for something so contrary to American values. But this pathetic pandering to himself and his over-inflated ego will never fly in the U.S. Maybe Vladimir has some network space for it.

Trump Has a Fear of Comedians that’s Rooted in His Fear of Looking Like a Fool – Too Late

The White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) is an annual affair that raises funds to provide scholarships for gifted journalism students. In past years it has featured notable comedians who often skewer both the press and the politicians who attend the event. The President of the United States is almost always in attendance. However, Donald Trump has been a no-show for two years in a row.

Donald Trump

The last president to decline to attend was Ronald Reagan. But he had a pretty good excuse. He was recovering from the bullet wounds of a would-be assassin. Trump’s reason for snubbing the event is pure cowardice. For years Trump has whined about comedians making jokes at his expense. His skin is so thin that it needs a coat of orange primer before he can go out in a light breeze. And many of the targets of his animated anus (sorry, that was the auto-correct) animus have been comedians that deigned to make him the butthead of their jokes. From Rosie O’Donnell to Bill Maher to Stephen Colbert to Jon Stewart, and so many more, Trump has devoted an incredible amount of time on maligning them personally and professionally.

Trump has focused particular attention on the past guest comedians of the WHCD. The routine by Seth Meyers in 2011 (video below) really set him off, and some say contributed to his decision to run for president as some sort of perverse revenge. But it was last year’s comic, Michelle Wolf, who brought out Trump’s inner (and outer) petulant child. Wolf did a brilliantly cutting monologue that burned both Trump and his surrogate, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who showed up in his place.

The controversy generated by Wolf’s routine has now caused the WHCD to announce that they will not have a comedian next year. It’s a pathetically weak response to controversy by an organization that is supposed to stand for freedom of speech. Instead they will feature a historian, Ron Chernow. And this news has pleased Donald Trump to no end. He even tweeted about:

First of all, Trump needs to be corrected, again. Wolf bombed so badly that she got her own TV show on Netflix. Poor thing. And she had an epic reply to Trump’s petty criticisms:

Nevertheless, Trump is so thrilled with the WHCD’s decision to host an author that he is hinting that he might actually attend this year. Or more accurately, threatening. Because no one really wants him to be there. His presence would be a disruption wherein he would demand all of the attention and then complain about it afterwards. However, Trump might be sorely disappointed if he musters the gumption to attend. Chernow is not exactly one of the Trump-fluffers that populate Fox News. He has some pointed opinions about Trump that could very well make their way into his presentation. According to Politico:

“During the 2016 election campaign, Chernow said he was disturbed by Trump’s campaign and feared that Americans ‘can forget who we are as a people and succumb to historical amnesia.’

“‘Make no mistake about it, when the past is scrubbed clean and American history becomes a blank slate, Donald Trump or any other demagogue can come along and write upon it whatever the hell he wants. And that disturbs me most of all,’ he said in a video posted on Facebook. ‘Please, please, please folks, don’t let it happen here.'”

A dinner affair with the press is not an especially good fit for this president who hates the media with a passion. And the journalists present surely would object to sitting next to a bloviating ignoramus who just tried to ban a CNN reporter, Jim Acosta, from the White House, and insulted three African-American journalists. As a result of those confrontations, Trump has now issued a decree to “govern the conduct of journalists,” something the press corps certainly won’t tolerate. In addition, Trump’s siding with the murderers in Saudi Arabia who killed and dismembered a Washington Post correspondent and American resident, Jamal Khashoggi, can’t sit well with an organization committed to the welfare of journalists.

However, the prospect of Trump attending the dinner could have a brighter side. It might be worth it to see Trump grimace through twenty minutes of a historian bashing his disrespect for the First Amendment and his Stalinist rhetoric about the media being “the enemy of the people.” The camera picking up his reactions to Chernow’s academically reinforced criticisms could be funnier than any of the comedians that might have been on the bill. Because there is one thing that hurts Trump even more than Melania laughing at his trouser toadstool (h/t Stormy). And that’s looking like a fool. But unfortunately for him, that ship of fools has sailed. And Trump has to eventually accept the fact that “The whole world is watching laughing. At him.

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

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.

Et Tu Fox News? Will Trump Be Asked About the Acosta Ruling and Fox’s Support for CNN?

Last week, in fit of rage, Donald Trump revoked the White House pass for CNN’s presidential correspondent, Jim Acosta, Subsequently, CNN filed a lawsuit to against to get Acosta’s rights restored. Nearly everyone in the journalism community supported CNN, including Fox News. Although their support at the management level was contradicted by most of their on-air hosts and contributors.

Donald Trump Fox News

Friday morning the court (with a Trump-appointed judge) issued a preliminary injunction ordering Trump to restore Acosta’s press pass because his due process rights were violated. A final ruling on the matter is expected soon. However, there is a presumption that Acosta’s First Amendment rights were also violated because due process is a constitutional provision for the protection of underlying rights.

In any case, the White House is now legally mandated to permit Acosta to cover the President and his press briefings. That is likely to add to Trump’s severe anxiety and depression, as has been reported in recent days. From the midterm election shellacking he took, to special counsel Robert Mueller’s impending report and possible indictments, Trump is in a foul mood. And being forced to play nice with Acosta, who he just singled out as an “enemy of the people,” isn’t going to cheer him up.

What might make Trump feel a little better is a friendly visit with his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He is generally in a more relaxed frame of mind when being questioned by the State TV reporters that he knows won’t challenge him. So Trump has squeezed an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday into his schedule. Wallace, however, is often not as accommodating – or worshipful – as Foxies like Sean Hannity (who Trump just mocked for his fatuous adoration and dumb questions). So Trump may be surprised with a few inquiries that attempt to scratch below the surface.

There are plenty of subjects for Wallace to explore that have been neglected by Trump’s recent interviews with sycophants like Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller. This will be Trump’s first one-on-one since the election. It will be an opportunity to catch up on recent developments concerning the Mueller probe. Trump’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions – and the possibly unlawful appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General – have not been discussed in detail. On the latter issue, it will be interesting to see if Wallace asks him to address his statements to the Daily Caller that his promotion of Whitaker was tied to his desire to terminate the Mueller investigation.

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

But one of the most interesting lines of questioning would be about Trump’s reaction to the Acosta court ruling and Fox News’ support for CNN. Will Trump now lump Fox into the basket of media organizations that he believes are the people’s enemies? Will he attack the judge that he appointed? Will he double down on his anti-free press rhetoric? Will he reiterate his opinion that he has the right to pick and choose who can cover him? And finally, will Wallace actually ask any of these questions? Tune in on Sunday for the big show.

Two-Faced Fox News: Both Supporting and Attacking CNN’s Lawsuit Against Trump

The split personality of Fox News is on display with regard to the controversy over their treatment of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta. The Trump administration revoked Acosta’s press pass last week after a contentious exchange with Donald Trump at a press conference. Trump’s behavior at the event was over the top, even for him. He viciously lashed out and insulted Acosta and several other reporters, including three African-American women.

Fox News, Donald Trump

However, what’s making the headlines now is the administration’s revocation of access to the White House for Acosta and the subsequent lawsuit filed by CNN to restore his First Amendment rights. The suit has been hailed by most of the journalistic community including the White House Correspondents Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. And even Fox News issued a statement in support of CNN’s lawsuit:

“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

Fox couldn’t resist highlighting what they called an “antagonistic tone.” but at least they included Trump in the criticism. The rest of the statement is a solid defense of the First Amendment. The problem is that this sentiment expressed by their management is not shared by their program hosts.

For instance, on her Tuesday night program Laura Ingraham is not so supportive. She called the lawsuit a “stunt” and a “farce.” Fox’s media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, wrote an op-ed Tuesday criticizing CNN, saying that “By taking the president to court, CNN also reinforces its image among millions of Trump supporters as part of the opposition.” And Wednesday on the air Kurtz said that “I think this suit is more of a PR effort than a legal one.” Martha MacCallum hosted former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer who dismissed freedom of the press saying that “It’s not a right to be able to go over to the White House.” And Fox’s senior Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity, complained bitterly for ten minutes about the lawsuit. He disparaged Acosta as “a far-left, grandstanding sycophant left-winger.” Trump was apparently watching, because he later used the “grandstanding” slur in an interview with Tucker Carlson’s rag, The Daily Caller. At no time did Hannity or the others stand up for the principles of freedom of the press.

This is representative of the two faces of Fox News. They like to pretend that they are a part of the journalistic community and committed to the constitutional provisions that protect the media. But their most watched personalities prefer the suppressive concepts favored by dictators who get to choose who cover them and what is permissible to say. And that’s also the position of the Trump White House that defended the President’s censorious punishment of Acosta in a statement that said:

“The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews.”

Actually, that isn’t the same thing at all. While Trump has been extremely selective with regard to interviews (the vast majority of which have been with Fox News), a press conference is an open event during which all attendees have equal access. And by selectively banning a reporter who asks tough questions, Trump is manipulating the coverage of his media avails to only those with whom he agrees, or believes he can overcome with bullying, filibustering, and lies. That is not how the Founding Fathers envisioned a free press. And Fox doesn’t get to be a “news” enterprise by issuing a statement in support of the First Amendment, while they put hacks on the air who advocate against it.

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 Abuse of Power: New Democratic Intel Committee Chair to Probe Attacks on the Media

The success of the Democratic “Blue Wave” that rolled over the Republican Nationalist Party last Tuesday – and continues still – is certain to have a profound effect on the next Congress. With a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, every committee chair will be a Democrat who is now free to hold the Trump regime accountable for its many unlawful and unethical acts.

Donald Trump

One of those new chairs is Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee. He has a broad mandate to investigate the administration on everything from the Russia collusion to obstruction of justice to Trump’s unsavory relationships with foreign dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un. And on Sunday morning Schiff identified another topic of inquiry that is critically important to the nation’s security and freedom.

Schiff told Axios that he is planning to hold hearings on Trump’s reckless and anti-constitutional assaults on the free press. This is long overdue for a censorious president who whines “fake news” whenever he doesn’t like the facts about him being accurately reported. It’s overdue for notorious liar who repeatedly refers to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Just this week Trump attacked several journalists, calling them “stupid” and “rude” and “racist” and otherwise insulting them personally and professionally. And it is not inconsequential that three of those reporters were African-American women. Trump also suspended the White House pass for CNN’s Jim Acosta, falsely accusing him of “placing his hands” on an intern who was trying to grab the microphone away from him. Later, Trump threatened to revoke more passes in the future.

According to Axios, there two primary issues that Schiff cited as worthy of further inquiry:

1) Schiff said Trump “was secretly meeting with the postmaster [general] in an effort to browbeat the postmaster [general] into raising postal rates on Amazon.”

“This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post,” Schiff said. Jeff Bezos is founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon, and owns the Washington Post.

2) Schiff said Congress also need to examine whether Trump attempted to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner as payback to CNN.

“We don’t know, for example, whether the effort to hold up the merger of the parent of CNN was a concern over antitrust, or whether this was an effort merely to punish CNN,” Schiff said.

Trump is an infantile grudge holder who fervently despises CNN and regularly seeks to disparage the network without any valid cause. That’s why he unsuccessfully opposed the merger with AT&T. Likewise, Trump hates (and is jealous of) real billionaire Jeff Bezos, who’s ownership of the Washington Post triggered Trump’s baseless attacks on Amazon.

These and other acts of Trumpian tyranny warrant investigation and sanction of the President. Not merely to slap the wrist of a crybaby wannabe dictator, but to preserve the sanctity of the free press and the Constitution. Schiff is doing the right thing and his plans should remind Trump and his GOP co-conspirators that elections have consequences.

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

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.