“I called the fake news the enemy of the people because they have no sources — they just make it up”
“Frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write”
“I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.” – Donald Trump
Led by a reality show host who has trouble with the truth (ask Premier Trudeau about the recent Canadian trade deficit lie), this entire presidential administration from top to bottom views the traditional press as the enemy. The increasingly frequent statements by the President about “fake news” reinforce this attitude on a daily basis. We hear about the President’s wacky statements like the above, but frequently are unaware of how his clear policy of obstructing, threatening, and discrediting the press is implemented by his subordinates.
For example, as a retired senior healthcare executive, former GOP office holder, and current columnist for multiple papers, it disturbs me that Virgil Dickson, the head of Modern Healthcare’s DC bureau, was banned in February from CMS “press calls/.” Why was this done? For the unpardonable sin of telling the truth about why someone left the agency.
He was later reinstated after pressure was placed on CMS, but this does not excuse what happened. Unfortunately, this censorship scenario does not surprise me given the administration’s general feelings about the free press, starting with the man at the top.
Trump’s attitude is that any news source which says anything negative about him is the enemy, to be discredited and destroyed. Therefore, he defines everything they produce as fake, including many items that are easily proven to be true.
Because this President comes from the world of reality TV, he sees the world as a big show. He is the huckster feeding the rubes misleading information and swearing it is true. He is a modern-day PT Barnum who just happens to have his finger on the nuclear button, as he frequently tells the world.
Assisting him in this reprehensible task are Fox News and the alt-right online newsletters. I get many strident political online publications just to see what news (or propaganda) they are feeding to the unknowing readers. Both left and right are biased, but ones on the right take it to an extreme.
These newsletters take issues out of context, state all sorts of incorrect and paranoid assumptions as though they are fact, and generally portray Trump as a white (literally) knight who can do no wrong. These newsletters constantly attack what they term the “lame stream media,” meaning all of the normal press. Most people reading these newsletters discount the truth because it is coming from mainstream media outlets rather than these rags.
Fox News is nearly as bad, with clearly unfair and unbalanced news reporting. A good friend recently told me that the only news channel that is not corrupted by the eastern elite is Fox News, and that he does not believe any news unless it is on that network. With the many news outlets out there (CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, MSNBC) supplying varying viewpoints, it is unfortunate that he feels this way. If he will not accept any other source of information as valid, there is little chance he will ever see the light.
It is my firm belief that this slanted reporting (and declaring everything else “fake news”) is a key factor in keeping Trump from being censored by the GOP, my party, for his many misdeeds. Attacking and discrediting the free press is the first step towards undermining our democracy. It is little wonder that Trump admires Putin. He clearly is attempting to mimic him.