The Trump administrations’ latest in a seemingly never ending line of gaffs has been to prevent certain news organisations from White House briefings. CNN, BBC and the New York Times have been singled out and banned for…well, reporting the news. This news of course, is actual news, and not the fake news Donald Trump so often reminds us of.
Or is it fake news? At this point (31 days into his presidency) I’m honestly not sure. The lines between reality and dystopian sci-fi nightmare were already blurring as state results were swinging in his favour last November, so you can forgive me for not having a clue what he’s on about half the time.
The maniacal nature of this presidency is anxiety inducing, tear-jerking and terrifying – it is everything you want from a Sunday Netflix binge. Sadly however, it is real, and in and amongst the cringe worthy interviews, satirical slaughtering of Trump, his staff, and support, along with the occasional bursts of ‘wow did he just..?’ there is a suspicious undercurrent of authoritarianism.
News organisations such as the BBC are often accused of bias. Ask a broad range of Scots and you will likely be met with an unequivocal rejection of this idea, or, an extended explanation as to how the BBC influenced every sentient life form in Scotland during the run up to the 2014 independence referendum. Brexiteers also followed this route, lambasting the BBC and main stream media for portraying their cause in a negative light…whilst they lied through their back teeth about NHS budget increases.
The BBC has its flaws, its shortcomings and its scandals, but it is a fantastic and informative service to the public, the same can be said about their co-conspirators in this diabolical MSM propaganda campaign, it is a disgrace that they have been cast out.
Since his election, there has been no shortage of news to report from Washington, and the air time reflects this. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s just getting boring now, but the fact of the matter is that everything the press has reported thus far has either been announced by the White House, or proclaimed loudly by Trump himself (most likely on stage, in front of numerous other news organisations who also publish and broadcast his statements).
We are of course talking about news here, stories as they unfold, not opinion or punditry. Nonetheless, the media has a right to air or publish content such as this, if the White House can’t handle an opinion piece, then do they have the ‘stamina’ that Trump so boldly declared he had?
How can the White House exile these organisations in good conscience?
Wait, let me rephrase that…
How can the White House now morally or legally justify exiling them?
Hang on, I’ll try again…In fact no, no I will not try to rationalise this.
The reality of the situation here is that the Trump administration is desperately clambering to control the narrative, and by refusing to engage with news organisations critical of the government, branding them ‘fake news’ or biased, they think they can maintain this control through their own channels – They are gravely mistaken. With each passing threat toward the media and with every day they are locked out, the Trump administration loses what little reputation it even had in the first place, and places the ball into the court of the opposition and the press.
A fundamental aspect of any democracy is a free press and a transparent government. These two are delicately entwined and have been for decades. To restrict the press from carrying out its role of informing the public, and holding power structures to account, is an insult to the system itself and those living in it. Furthermore, it is a stain on the legacy of the idols they revere; Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln Et al
In the alt-right echo chamber that Trump, his supporters and puppet master Steve Bannon exist, they feel safe and secure. After all, if you disregard opposing beliefs and ideologies, viewing your own as superior and everyone else as a cuck or snowflake, then it’s easy to understand why you’d be so eager to suppress everything else, you’re doing the world a favour. It would also be nice to imagine a world where nobody disagreed, where everyone conformed to the same thoughts and beliefs. (if you’d like to read more about this I’d suggest George Orwell’s ‘1984’.)
If your sources of information are through news outfits such as Breitbart, known for its sensationalist and often offensive content, or InfoWars, led by a man who believes the upper echelons of the Democrat Party are part of an inter-dimensional, vampiric paedophile ring* – I’m being serious here – then I imagine your life would be pretty peachy. After all, ignorance is bliss as they say.
A real democrat however would relish the opportunity to see debate flourish, political engagement rise and a population elevated. A true patriot would welcome a stronger democracy, and in turn a stronger nation. The golden boy of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, would have rolled his sleeves up and slugged it out in a manner befitting of the office, he wouldn’t run away and scream 140 characters worth of bile onto social media.
Trump is none of the above, and seeks to restrict those things, instead relying on ignorance and intolerance to control, through marginalising large parts of the populace and de-legitimising the pillars of democracy. We have seen on a number of occasions in the past century where a free press is portrayed as an enemy of the people, and these have largely been in totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China – Is this any way for the President of the United States to act?
For a man and a movement that so often squeals about freedom of speech, he doesn’t seem too keen on ensuring it works both ways.
I’ll leave you with a quote from a real democrat, century’s old but still frighteningly relevant:
“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
* For more on Alex Jones’ mind boggling statements see: Joe Rogan Podcast episode 911
Chris Christian (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode)