Donald Trump’s Attempt to Destroy Press Freedom Is Reminiscent of 1930’s Fascists

Robert Reich | Robert Reich’s Facebook Page | Reader Supported News | May 15, 2016

f Donald Trump’s many fascistic tendencies, his treatment of the media — “disgusting reporters” he calls them – replicates the tactics of demagogues since the 1930s:

1. Banning not just reporters but even publications that have covered him negatively from covering at his public events, while giving campaign credentials to extremist outlets like “Political Cesspool,” a radio show that labels itself “pro-white.”

2. Inciting crowds against the media.Trump regularly whips his crowds into an anti-media frenzy and urges his fans to boo the press pen. Hostile rhetoric toward the press is a staple of his events. “I would never kill them, but I do hate them,” he said of the press in December. “And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.”

3. Throwing reporters out of Trump rallies. Last weekend, Michael Mayo, a columnist for Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, was threatened with arrest if he didn’t leave a Trump rally in West Boca after he entered through the public line and tried to film protesters. The campaign has reportedly begun to intersperse plainclothes security officers amid the crowd to root out anyone who is not a true Trump fan.

4. Using violence against reporters. Two weeks ago, a Secret Service officer watching over the press section choked Time photographer Chris Morris and slammed him to the ground when he tried to venture out of the media pen.

5. Threatening the media with libel. Last month, Trump vowed to make libel laws more punitive against the media if he becomes president. “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,” Trump said during a campaign event in Texas.

A free society depends on a free press. Which is why demagogues and fascists like Trump seek to destroy press freedom.

What do you think?

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February 9, 1737: Thomas Paine Is Born

Freedom of Speech in the Digital Age

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...

Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website prior to 2002 or 2003, and still used on some publications and areas of their website. The central part of the logo is also used on products which conform to FCC requirements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael Winship  | Moyers & Company | Truthout | November 12, 2013

Ten years ago, when Moyers & Company guests John Nichols and Robert McChesney appeared on the series Now with Bill Moyers, they protested the lack of public involvement in decisions concerning mass media. “There are a handful of very interested parties who are deeply engaged,” Nichols said then, “ who think about it every day, who hire lobbyists, who spend a great deal of money, not merely to lobby Congress, but also, to lobby the FCC.”

Those “interested parties” – many of them multinational monoliths – have aggressively acquired and consolidated newspapers and magazines, radio and television stations and networks, movie studios and other media companies on and off the Web, weakening community and the freedom of speech.

But the public has a louder voice now, and more influence, in part because there arose from that conversation with Bill Moyers a media reform movement founded by McChesney and Nichols with Josh Silver. Free Press has become a leading presence in the progressive community nationwide, bolstering a faltering democracy in its advocacy of diverse media ownership, press freedom and quality journalism, a reinvigorated public broadcasting and universal, affordable Internet access.

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Can Capitalism Tolerate a Democratic Internet? An Interview With Media Expert Robert McChesney

Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout | Interview | April 18, 2013

The thing you forget about the man with 23 books to his name, books that have been translated into 30 languages, the man who cofounded the Free Press – one of the most important media reform organizations in the country – is that he has kind of crazy hair. Despite that, he’s also one of the most respected scholars of the history and political economy of communication in the United States. Robert W. McChesney got started in the same way I did in media – in the punk-rock trenches of independent print publishing. As founding publisher of The Rocket, the underground cultural rag in Seattle that fostered an enduring music scene that still helps define American culture, McChesney has thoroughly tested the enduring impact of independent media.

Yet the Internet has scant room for non-corporate voices, a concern that drives McChesney’s latest New Press title, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. It’s an important extension of his to-date oeuvre, tracking the privatization of communication in the digital age, as well as a vital stand-alone resource. (Full disclosure: McChesney and the Free Press have been very supportive of my work in the past, but I’m sure you’ll agree I haven’t let that keep me from a close interrogation of his ideas in the interest of expanding his audience.)

I am grateful to have spent an hour with McChesney discussing his latest for Truthout – a site he had plenty of great things to say about.

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