Like many of my Conservative brethren, I have very little sympathy for the dysfunctional and badly broken mainstream media, particularly after the last eight years of media incest between Obama and the press. But the constant cry of “fake news” coming from Donald Trump and his brigade of goose-stepping Trumpbots is not only getting really old, it’s beginning to threaten the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press.
Trump’s narcissistic need for unconditional acceptance, along with his disdain for the media in general, reared its liberty-killing head during the GOP primaries when he openly promised to eliminate libel laws in order to remove the media’s constitutional protection. Making it easier to sue the media and make lots of money:
“One of the things I’m going to do, and this is going to make it tougher for me…but one of the things I’m going to do if I win…is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when the New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”
Later in Trump’s campaign he created a blacklist of media outlets denying press credentials to those whom he claimed were “inaccurately” reporting on his campaign. These events would eventually morph into the “fake news” mantra we are hearing today. Or as Nazi Germany called it: Lügenpresse, which translated means “lying press.”
Before you leave your comment below about my use of a Nazi reference, you need to consider that Trump’s own followers have adopted the word to attack the media. And, as George Santayana said in The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Hitler successfully destroyed the “lying press” and replaced it with the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda led by Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels used his position to seize control of radio, press, cinema, and theater, and replaced the “news” with government-approved propaganda.
Trump is doing the same thing. He’s shutting out news outlets he dislikes, and loading the White House Briefing Room with news–and even non-news–media handpicked for their pro-Trump coverage. He has also used the power of the presidency to manipulate the news in a blatant effort to destroy the press for reporting “fake news.”
Because then they can decry the press for reporting "fake news". White House has used this tactic several times already. https://t.co/e5OqmD63Uy
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 17, 2017
After the administration circulated a draft memo that revealed a plan to delegate 100,000 National Guard members for rounding up illegal immigrants, the Associated Press ran with a story. The AP had made several attempts to get a statement from the White House or the Department of Homeland Security, but their requests went unanswered. When the story went to print, the White House suddenly issued a statement denying the plan.
Here's the tweet Trump deleted—he's seriously calling the media "the enemy of the American people" pic.twitter.com/TxhnjuNL7q
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 17, 2017
While broken, the media is NOT the enemy of the American people. Rather, as Thomas Jefferson once stated, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
Besides the ironic fact that Trump seeks the same relationship with the press that Obama enjoyed–positive, non-critical coverage–his “fake news” agenda is a serious threat to the survival of our Constitutional Republic.
A FINAL THOUGHT
I’ve noticed the nearly orgasmic reaction by the “conservative” media every time Trump attacks the “liberal” media, and I wonder if they are able to recognize their hypocrisy. When Obama leveled the same type of attacks against media outlets he didn’t feel positively reported on his administration, the justified outrage by those on the right was loud and clear. Yet, now that that Trump is attacking “liberal” media, “conservative” media not only rejoices, but it has become the willing participants of Trump Pravda–defending and encourage his actions as they become what they once abhorred.
One day, a Democrat will be in the White House. Will these conservative media outlets be OK when that president uses Trump’s model to shut them out once again? Or will they hypocritically complain about how unfair it is to be targeted? I think you know the answer.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.