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!”
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”
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.