Monthly Archives: November 2016

More Censorship

    I wrote most of this post a few days ago. Since then we have seen even more from Mr Trump indicating he only wants good coverage. He is willing to blame the media for anything not matching his version of reality….even protests against his Presidency. Rather than go to the media with a press release or news conference, he’s taken to Tweeting just like during the campaign. The latest direct attempt to squash the First Amendment:

Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

4:55 AM – 29 Nov 2016

Never mind that was settled back in 1989 Supreme Court decision, Texas v. Johnson, said burning the flag is a protest protected by the First Amendment. 

    But outside these obvious events there is much more. Mostly subtle but effective in marginalizing the media, blackballing reporters who may not describe things the way Mr Trump perceives himself, and bombarding the public with false statements like this Tweet about winning the popular vote:

In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”

1:30 PM – 27 Nov 2016

    Unsupported fiction but consistent with what we’ve seen thus far, and an important trend to make the public disbelieve the media and believe him, him alone. Throughout Trumps’ campaign and continuing today he has been calling/labeling them crooked media. It’s been sadly effective in making his followers ignore the facts and evidence put directly in front of them by responsible investigative reporters. Consider the work done by David Fahrenthold proving the Trump Foundation was involved in self dealing and violating federal law. Trump denied it, and his followers ignored the evidence citing the “crooked media” out to get their candidate. With the election over the foundation has filed their taxes indicating they had indeed engaged in self dealing. So with the votes now in Trump has openly admitted self dealing, a clear violation of federal law. Yes 29.8% of the electorate voted for a known crook.

    Also seen in this Presidential campaign is the alternative news with their reputation for using bits and pieces of information turning it toward a dramatic headline. The story rarely supports the headline or narrative, and more rare references supporting the headline or story. Prominent examples: Breitbart, Drudge Report, Allen West, all versions of strongly bent far right and often racist position.

On top of all that we now have completely fake news stories propagating on social media filling the void for (alleged) information now that trust in reporters has been undermined. These stories are written with no factual basis whatsoever. Completely made up with names and towns and events that don’t exist, never happened, but they are passed on to the tune of millions of hits. Stunning propaganda machine bending the minds and hearts of those too too lazy or unwilling to look it up. Perhaps don’t want any facts to come into conflict with their preconceived beliefs. On a personal note, I have experienced a discussion with an old classmate. She is self described as very religious but continued to pass on without apology fake story after fake story….even after being approached by friends with facts disproving her position. As one of my friend asked: at what point in religion has it become OK to knowingly and willfully lie? Clearly it is about the hearts and minds.

    So strong is the concern Christiane Amanpour, one of the top foreign correspondents stated that her “blood ran cold” when Donald Trump tweeted out that those who were protesting in the streets after his election win had been “incited by the media.” She has expressed concern for journalists and journalism in the US just as in many countries around the world today. I recommend reading her comments on CBS NEWS World 

    As I mentioned last blog we need to be on watch to not allow our rights to be encroached or lost completely. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy.

Censorship, We should all be Scared

    Last week we saw a small dust-up over the appearance of our Vice President Elect Mr Pence at Hamilton. First he was booed by the audience, then the cast addressed him with a message.

We hope you will hear us out. …We, sir, we, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who played Aaron Burr, read to audience cheers. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf all of us.”

    This message was neither threatening nor offensive. It did not nor did anyone or anything else impact the show, detract from the performance, or impede the audience experience in any way. This ladies and gentlemen is what we Americans call Freedom of Speech. It is dear to our democratic government and protected by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But immediately afterward we saw a Tweet from our President elect:

The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016

    So Trump demands an apology. For what? Exercising their First Amendment Right of Free Speech. Imagine if the theater had erupted in cheers instead of Boos. We wouldn’t be having this conversation at all. The effect here is that the President elect (not technically elect until the Electoral College votes) is demanding only positive media and social information. Freedom of speech is protected by our first amendment yet right now we’re seeing it squeezed and deliberately marginalized, more on that later.

    For now just think about the impact of a President attempting to squash one of your rights. The right of an investigative reporter to research and report . Our right to be informed, and our right to share our conclusions with each other, our legislators, and our President. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy. We all need to be on watch.

    So where have I been? I just completed a term on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization. I became concerned about both my time and the potential for conflict of interest. If anyone actually missed this blog, sorry. But today is new and there is much to talk about. I will do my best to keep the keyboard rolling and to solicit works and inputs from others. Meanwhile as for media censorship, even if it IS the President elect, sorry bud, as the NRA faction likes to make point on a similar constitutional right, you’ll have to pry my free speech from my cold dead lips.