Trump Vows to Do Something About the ‘Dishonest Media’ at Press Conference
As leaks to the press about Donald Trump and his possible ties to Russia continue to shed light on how the current administration assumed power, Trump reiterated in a combative news conference that something has to be done about the “dishonest media”.
Trump said: “I’m making this presentation this morning directly to the American people… because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth.”
He went on to say: “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. We have to talk about it to find out what’s going on because honestly, the media is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”
That narrative is popular among hard-right outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart because the highest percentage of Americans who distrust the mainstream media are Republicans and consumers of hard-right news.
But what has captured the ire of Trump recently has been the plethora of news swirling around his connections to Russia.
According to the New York Times: “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”
And Washington Post Journalist Jennifer Rubin explained that the “multiple former intelligence and national security professionals” she spoke to said they knew Flynn had discussed President Obama’s sanctions against Russia with their US ambassador because the conversations were “picked up from monitored” as is standard practice.
And besides, if this is all fake news, “why the heck did he fire the guy?”
The broader picture here is this is just the latest in a long narrative of systematic attacks Trump has made against the 1st amendment, free speech and the constitutionally protected right to “freedom of the press”. This gives rise to the concern that under the Trump presidency, the right of free speech may be in danger.
Sean Spicer, press secretary for the White House, also made up a terrorist attack in Atlanta, Georgia that never happened, and repeated that lie over the course of several press briefings and interviews on mainstream news networks.
Over the course of his presidential campaign and on into the current administration, Trump has made it a point to bash the media, but also suggest that the freedom to speak freely might need to be reevaluated.
On November 6th of last year, Trump tweeted: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”
This comment is interesting because it suggests that the US Supreme Court, which has ruled on this matter twice, is somehow mistaken. In 1989 and the following year , the Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag is “symbolic speech” protected under the 1st amendment and the Congress cannot deem otherwise because that would be unconstitutional.
But on a personal level, Trump has sued journalists for questioning his prowess. In 2006, he sued a journalist for libel over questions about whether or not he really is a billionaire. In an attempt to silence the reporter and the subsequent story, Trump claimed he suffered $5 billion dollars in damages to his “brand”.
This falls in line with his now infamous declaration in 2016 that he would loosen the libel laws once Trump became president.
During a campaign rally, Trump told the audience: “One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we’re certainly leading. 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. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”
And now in 2017 Trump is attacking the free press for doing their job – exposing corruption. It just so happens that the corruption they are exposing involves Trump, Russia and the curious circumstances that led to his presidential win.
Chief Editor | Investigative Journalist OccupyCorporatism.com
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