Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trump's War On The Media Is Dangerous To Democracy

(Cartoon image is by Rick McKee in the Augusta Chronicle.)

The narcissist in the White House has demonstrated his thin skin by declaring war on any media that has called him out on his lies. He has labeled them as "fake news" and even barred some of the media from the latest White House press conference.

This is unacceptable, and poses a danger to our democracy. Democracy relies on a free press with access to all aspects of government -- especially the White House. Fortunately, this attack on our free press is being opposed by media on both sides of the political spectrum. This is illustrated by the editorials below. The first is by legendary journalist Dan Rather, and the second is by the traditionally conservative editorial board of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From Dan Rather:

The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy. These are the dangers presidents are supposed to protect against, not create.
For all who excused Mr. Trump's rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn't true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement. There has been a wall of unbending support from virtually every Republican in Congress, and even some Democrats. Among many people, this will be seen as anything approaching acceptable. And mind you, talk is cheap. No one needs to hear how you don't agree with the President. What are you going to do about it? Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?
This is an emergency that can no longer be placed solely at the feet of President Trump, or even the Trump Administration. This is a moment of judgement for everyone who willingly remains silent. It is gut check time, for those in a position of power, and for the nation.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

We find what happened at the White House Friday an alarming threat to American democracy, and we believe it should worry you as much as it worries us.
President Donald Trump has lashed out against national news media for months, calling them dishonest and their news fake. The trajectory of his insults reached a new height this past week when he referred to the media as “the enemy of the American people.”
There’s no benefit in getting mad at someone who calls you names. 
In Trump’s case, it is easy to see this as a political strategy: He discredits the news media broadly and certain news organizations specifically to build distrust among the American people and make them slower to believe the next story about something wrong within the Trump administration.
No news organization has ever been perfect. We all make mistakes, some of them very serious. To maintain credibility, we must acknowledge our every mistake and then work hard to regain public trust.
But what the Trump administration did Friday went beyond name-calling, even beyond politics.
Instead of its regular afternoon briefing, the White House press office convened a meeting of reporters in press secretary Sean Spicer’s office and barred representatives of certain disfavored news organizations — The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, Buzzfeed and others — from attending.
It’s not unusual for access to certain events to be limited to only a small group of reporters, called a pool, who then pass on information to other organizations in the press room. That’s simply crowd management.
Friday’s meeting pool was greatly expanded to include favored organizations — Breitbart News (Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s alma mater), The Washington Times, One America News Network and others.
Of the major television news outlets, only CNN was blocked. CNN most recently encountered Trump’s ire by reporting that FBI officials declined a White House request to discredit reports of contacts between Trump associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence.
Freedom and democracy require an informed public. 
This White House act was not part of the normal and healthy adversarial relationship between news media and government officials. It was a salvo of censorship, meant to show that any organization that displeases Trump with the news they produce will be punished.
It was a threat to us all.

Read more her
e: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/editorials/article134894899.html#storylink=cpy

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