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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US Ranks 41st on Global Press Freedom List

White House Press Corps. (photo: AP)
White House Press Corps. (photo: AP)


Julian Hattem | The Hill | Reader Supported News | April 20, 2016

he United States ranked 41st in global press freedom by an international journalist advocacy group in an annual list released on Wednesday.

Reporters Without Borders claimed that, despite being enshrined in the Constitution, freedom of the press “has encountered a major obstacle” in the U.S. due to “the government’s war on whistleblowers.”

Reporters Without Borders also chided the U.S. for not establishing a federal “shield law” protecting journalists from having to reveal their sources.

The ranking was actually an eight-spot improvement over 2015, when the U.S. came in 49th in the world.

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Bad News: Only 6% of Americans trust the media – survey


Democracy in Peril: Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Under the Telecommunications Act

Michael Corcoran | Truthout | February 11, 2016

(Photo: Television Broadcast via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO)President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act, which was bought and paid for by the corporate media lobbies, in 1996. In the current presidential race, media industry giants have donated much more to Hillary Clinton than to any other candidate. (Photo: Television Broadcast via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO)


Wall Street’s sinister influence on the political process has, rightly, been a major topic during this presidential campaign. But, history has taught us that the role that the media industry plays in Washington poses a comparable threat to our democracy. Yet, this is a topic rarely discussed by the dominant media, or on the campaign trail.

But now is a good time to discuss our growing media crises. Twenty years ago this week, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act, signed into law on February 8, 1996, was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies,” as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described it, and radically “opened the floodgates on mergers.”

The negative impact of the law cannot be overstated. The law, which was the first major reform of telecommunications policy since 1934, according to media scholar Robert McChesney, “is widely considered to be one of the three or four most important federal laws of this generation.” The act dramatically reduced important Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on cross ownership, and allowed giant corporations to buy up thousands of media outlets across the country, increasing their monopoly on the flow of information in the United States and around the world.

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Holding a ‘Go Donald!’ Media Accountable for ‘Normalizing Extremism’

Janine Jackson | FAIR | January 23, 2016

Great Britain won’t actually ban Donald Trump from the country but Parliament did spend time taking seriously what was called Trump’s “poisonous, corrosive” effect on public discourse. At the same time, actors, writers and others, including Harry Belafonte, Eve Ensler and Noam Chomsky, launched a Stop Hate Dump Trump campaign, that included serving notice to media that they “are accountable for normalizing Trump’s extremism by treating it as entertainment, by giving it inordinate and unequal air time and by refusing to investigate, interrogate or condemn it appropriately.”

For some journalists, this might provoke questions: Reporters can’t ignore public figures, but is there daylight between covering news of a person and providing them a near-constant, legitimizing megaphone?

For media executives, though, the main question seems to be: What time does the bank open?

The Intercept on Les Moonves

CBS chief Les Moonves in The Intercept (12/10/15): “This is fun, watching this, let them spend money on us, and we love having them in there.”

I’m thinking of a report from December by Lee Fang at The Intercept (12/10/15), about how, with visions of campaign ad dollars sparkling in his eye, CBS chief executive Les Moonves cheered on Trump’s candidacy at an investor presentation: “The more they spend, the better it is for us, and: Go Donald! Keep getting out there!”

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Bernie Sanders: How the Political & Media Elite are Trying to Set Him Up to Fail

Daniel Denvir | Salon | December 22, 2015

David Muir, setting up the first in an endless stream of questions about terrorism in Saturday evening’s Democratic primary debate, of which he was moderator, reminded Americans that it was “just six days before Christmas, as we all know in this country. It’s typically a joyful time, as it is this year, as well. But it’s also an anxious time.”

The question at hand was not the age-old one of war or peace, or even, for that matter, the war on Christmas. After all, as Muir noted, Americans are united by their knowledge that it’s almost Christmas. The critical uncertainty, rather, is what kind of war this country, which has been ceaselessly at war for 14 years, should fight.

“I’m going to ask the secretary [Clinton] here, because there does appear to be some daylight here between the policies, at least in respect to when you take out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” said Muir. “Right now or do you wait? Do you tackle ISIS first?”

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Empowering the Ugliness

Paul Krugman | The New York Times | December 12, 2015

e live in an era of political news that is, all too often, shocking but not surprising. The rise of Donald Trump definitely falls into that category. And so does the electoral earthquake that struck France in Sunday’s regional elections, with the right-wing National Front winning more votes than either of the major mainstream parties.

What do these events have in common? Both involved political figures tapping into the resentments of a bloc of xenophobic and/or racist voters who have been there all along. The good news is that such voters are a minority; the bad news is that it’s a pretty big minority, on both sides of the Atlantic. If you are wondering where the support for Mr. Trump or Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Front, is coming from, you just haven’t been paying attention.

But why are these voters making themselves heard so loudly now? Have they become much more numerous? Maybe, but it’s not clear. More important, I’d argue, is the way the strategies elites have traditionally used to keep a lid on those angry voters have finally broken down.

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Once Again, Media Terrorize the Public for the Terrorist

Fox News. (photo: FAIR/Fox News)
Fox News. (photo: FAIR/Fox News)

Adam H. Johnson | FAIR | Reader Supported News | November 29, 2015

nother devastating terror spectacle and another media panic playing right into the script: spreading fear and sowing Islamophobia. Better writers than I have documented the latter, but not as much attention has been paid to the former—how in the wake of the Paris attacks 10 days ago, much of the media have needlessly stoked fears and acted, entirely predictably, as the PR wing for terrorists.

Do media have an obligation to cover terrorism? Of course. Is there any rule of journalism that says they have to jump in panic every time some anonymous ISIS account tweets out a spooky video? No.

The right way to cover a “threat,” as I noted last May, has as much to do with quality as quantity. Is it covered as a news item, or is it sexed up and packaged just how ISIS would want? Take, for example, the most cynical of these reports, from Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, which not only promotes the highlights of the “ISIS threat to New York” propaganda clip, but actually embeds the entire video unedited:

Murdoch’s other troll factory, Fox News (11/17/15), even interviewed ex-spook Morten Storm (yes, that’s his real name) about the ISIS threat, where he says, in no uncertain terms, that they will strike within two weeks.

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The media are not always an activist’s friend

 | America Blog | November 10, 2015

While Mizzou university students may have secured a huge organizing victory by ousting their university president through protest tactics and some serious muscle-flexing from the football team, much of the attention since has focused on an incident that occurred on the university quad just yesterday.

A large group of students forming a wall around their protest camp blocks U of M student and photographer Tim Tai from entering and they argue. Voices rise and tensions flare, they push one another back and forth, but the confrontation stops short of a shouting match or fight. (Having had my fair share of heated arguments in college, I thought this was relatively tame.)

Due to the nature of the debate around speech, “safe spaces” and political correctness right now, this brief confrontation has received widespread attention online. The last 5 seconds in particular, in which media studies professor Melissa Click asks the crowd “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” garnered coverage from the likes of Gawker, Breitbart, and the Federalist. These posts all suggested that, since Dr. Click is a media studies professor, she should have known better than to physically obstruct the media from “doing its job.”

Melissa Click, screenshot via YouTube

Melissa Click, screenshot via YouTube

To this point, The University of Missouri School of Journalism is considering revoking Click’s courtesy appointment in their department, although her post in the College of Arts and Sciences does not appear to be in jeopardy.

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‘We’ve all been desensitized to violence, we become inactive’ – psychologist


RT America | October 2, 2015

How responsible is the media (including the news and video games) for the rash of deadly mass shootings in the US? In light of the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College, which left ten dead including the shooter, Manuel Rapalo speaks with Dr. Victor Strasburger, professor of adolescent pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, on how the media could be spreading this violence.

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