Trump’s War Against The Press Is A War Against Democracy

A month ago, I posted about the Trump administration’s war on the media and how important a free press is to preserving our democracy. (Read blog post here.) Now they’ve escalated their war by trying to restrict press coverage as a means of punishing news organizations they view as being “unfairly” critical of the administration and Trump in particular. And with that escalation, the Trump White House has taken a scary step toward censorship and dictatorial power.

Am I being overly dramatic and making a mountain out of a mole hill? Certainly, many of Trump’s ardent supporters and far right conservatives will say that I am. However, I would say that the threat implied by the administration’s latest action cannot be overstated enough!

Trump is constantly calling facts the fake news, similar to like Kellyanne Conway’s reference to “alternative facts”.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from the transcription of Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday (Friday, 2/24/2017)

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy.

“They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, ‘Oh no, this is no good.’ But that’s the way they are.

“So I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press.

Ah, but here’s content of the actual “enemy of the people” tweet sent out by Trump and reported by the media with a link to it on Twitter for verification.

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing ‪@nytimes, ‪@NBCNews, ‪@ABC, ‪@CBS, ‪@CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

He is attacking the media by saying that the mainstream media is reporting fake news and are thus the enemy of the people. Of course, it is interesting that Trump and his handlers refer to anything that contradicts what they want us to believe as “Fake News”. Yet they embrace actual fake news sites like Breitbart.com, InfoWars.com, WND.com, etc.

So who is right? Well, when the real news media gets information from various sources that conflict with the official story being espoused by a government official or organization,  they are obligated to investigate and report the story. That is the role of a free press, whether the end result ends up corroborating or disproving the official version. In a democracy, a free press is the eyes and ears of the people. It is their role to assure our government is not hiding inconvenient truths from us.

It is not the media’s fault that Trump says things that are distortions or outright fabrications as shown when his statements are fact-checked for accuracy as they were by MSN in his address to CPAC. And, while we should have some healthy skepticism regarding what politicians tell us, especially when they’re campaigning for office, we should also have an expectation that they adhere to a higher ideal of honesty in their dealing with us once elected or appointed.

Essentially, it appears that the administration is engaged in a war on truth, one of the first principles of establishing a dictatorship. Trump wants people to believe his lies are truth and the real truth is lies. Folks, that is beyond scary and calls to mind the line from George Orwell’s eerily prescient novel 1984 about a dystopian society — “War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.”

So, what do we do? We must demand accountability from those who would represent us and those who seek to lead us. We must verify what we read by checking multiple sources and share the truth via every means possible. We must show up at town council meetings, public hearings, and town halls held by our representatives to Congress. Plus, we need to show up at the polls for every election.

Specifically, since the thrust of this administration’s attack involves what appears to be an attempt to cover up possible illegal and improper dealings with a foreign power (Russia), write or call your representative and senators and demand an investigation! It’s the only way we’ll know for sure!

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” ―
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Let the R.A.I.N. wash away the lies and show us the truth!

The Divine Miss Bri

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A Free Press — The Light of Truth

Well, after all the big ado about crowd size, alternative facts and Trump coming up short in the size department (just couldn’t resist because in this case size really does matter), the administration is for all intents and purposes waging a war against the freedom of the press. The latest salvo was fired by Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and former head of Brietbart (ahem) News (that’s a real stretch), where facts are fiction or alternative facts.

Here’s a link to the story where he says the “News media should keep its mouth shut!”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump’s-chief-strategist-says-news-media-should-‘keep-its-mouth-shut’/ar-AAmhL9O?li=BBnbcA1

As typical with conservatives, he called the news media the opposition party, elitist and the usual insults. The issue always seems to be that the far right version of the truth never quite jives with the real truth, which can be rather inconvenient, especially considering this disparity has been practically a constant with both Trump’s campaign and his administration. Of course, they rely on less than reliable sources for their “alternative” facts!

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/26/media/infowars-alex-jones-donald-trump/index.html

As a former radio news director, anchor and reporter, I know how those in the spotlight like to spin the facts to their advantage. However, in my experience interviewing local politicians, state representatives, a governor and a former president, I have never seen anything to beat the obfuscation, misdirection, temper tantrums and general disrespect for the news media (and by proxy the public) shown by Trump and his ‘team”.

So maybe we should remind the current administration and its mouthpieces that the same constitution which the far right is always harping about includes a troublesome thing called the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There are a bunch of inconvenient rights in there that Trump and the conservatives find terribly annoying. But more importantly the rights are a cornerstone of maintaining our liberties in a free society.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”  Thomas Jefferson

“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”      Walter Cronkite

And this brings us back to the central point:

Without a free and independent media to investigate, fact check and verify what our government is saying and doing, we will be living in a dictatorship!

So whether you love them or hate them, be thankful that we have a free press! But again, make sure you carefully select and verify the media you choose to use to get your news. And yes there are both liberal and conservative outlets, although I find the major news networks (CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC) try to be as independent as possible.

In the end, it’s all about shining a light on the truth! And so Mr. Trump and associates, here’s a little something from Plato to think about.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”  Plato

Stay observant and call out those who would hide the truth!

MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!

Let the R.A.I.N. wash away the fog and expose the truth!

The Divine Miss Bri

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