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Trump’s Attack on the Freedom of the Press


Trump’s Attack on the Freedom of the Press

Robert Reich

Historically, tyrants have tried to control the press using 4 techniques that, worryingly, Donald Trump is already using.

1. Berate the media and turn the public against it. Trump refers to journalists as “dishonest,” “disgusting” and “scum.” When Trump lies – claiming, for example, “massive voter fraud” in the election, and that he “won in a landslide” – and the media call him on those lies, Trump claims the media is lying. Even televised satires he labels “unfunny, one-sided, and pathetic.”


There is no FREE and independent press outside the press which Barack Obama and the mainstream media now attack as being sources of "fake news". in lockstep with the co-opted Media they have been attacking a wide swathe of the independent media as being "tools of Putin" and have in fact passed laws seeking to limit their presence.

Mr Reich is very much like a Stalinist in the old USSR condemning attacks on Pravda as attacks on a "free and independent press"

In order to make the claim that Trump attacks "freedom of the press" one must first establish that it exists in the first place.So just as example this so called "free press" is stating the Government line as to what happens in Aleppo verbatim when the truly independent press of other nations or entities have a distinctly different account as to what happens there.

The word “media” comes from “intermediate” between the powerful and the public. The media hold the powerful accountable by correcting their misstatements, asking them hard questions, and reporting on what they do. Apparently Trump wants to eliminate such intermediaries.

Please detail the "hard questions" asked by the Press on those WMDS in Iraq, just as example. The truth was coming from websites and sources now deemed "fake news"


Well Robbie it appears the Clinton years have left you scared. The media this year has been exceedingly dishonest against both Trump and Sanders.. Lets see after Harry 'the liar" Reed fixed Nevada for Clinton and Barbara Boxer claimed that she was 'in fear for her life" because some Sanders supporters where upset that the meeting was run like a dictatorship. The lying media smeared Sen Sanders 24 7. Most dishonest. The Times again published a hit piece and numerous dishonest stories about Sanders and Trump but none about Wall Street "Hilary". For example Trump and the 5 women by Barbero which feel apart as soon as it was published or the myth widely circulated in the NYT and elsewhere That Bernie did not even understand Dodd Frank. PS the first amendment protects the press in its Right to print what it wants...but when it lies and distorts it does not protect them against being called out.


When the media distorts the truth...anyone can take issue.
2 and three ....The media which something like 60 percent feel is dishonest is not given the right to press conferences.and really I prefer to hear directly from either Sanders or Trump without the distorted media [ which earlier in there zeal } decided to abandon any journalistic ethics 4. here you show your age . I want fats and honest coverage from news organizations....I do not need the elite media to 'inform or dis inform me......Again it appears you have caught Clintonitis.


Trump's power depends on his lies being believed. In other words, he needs to control information to the public. While most people who are left of center easily see Trump's lies are being, particularly after the fact checkers in the press provide the evidence, it has been reported that many of Trump's supporters actually believes what he says. So Trump's problem is that most of people do not believe what he says. Putin had the same problem in Russia which had the beginnings of a free press after the fall of the USSR and he solved his problem by destroying the offices of the press and locking up the offices, jailing journalists, and apparently having some journalists killed. In Turkey, Erdogen has had over 80 journalists jailed in his efforts to turn Turkey into a democracy. The attacks on the press by the far left in the US are based on half truths and are dangerous if believed. The US does have a functioning free press although the standards have been lowered by 24-hour cable news, tabloid journalism, a race for ratings on TV, and the influence of commercialism in general. However, probably the New York Times is the single best source of news. And there are many other good sources such as McClatchy, Knight-Ridder, Gannett, etc. On TV public television is a good source of news. With CSPAN viewers can watch Congress directly and there are many forums available which provide a lot of good information. So if Trump wants to destroy the free press he has his work cut out for him. The free press in the US must be defended against Trump. Judging based on what has happened in democracies like Turkey it could happen here.


I understand the points you are making, however the era of Trump WILL see attacks on press freedoms like we have not seen in our lifetimes, and indeed unprecedented attacks given the tools of surveillance handed to Trump, his long record of lawsuits against those speaking against him, and what will become apparent very shortly – the very likely open tactics of brutal intimidation against those he considers his political enemies.

We are about to enter a very terrifying paradigm (not that the current one is peace and love and unicorns).

I almost forgot to put in the following…(not directed at you SuspiraDeProfundis)

Yes yes, I know about how Obama has gone after the press, has prosecuted and jailed whistleblowers, and how the US military has attacked and killed journalists.

Trump will pile onto that sorry record with gusto and added terror.


The recent bill just passed under the Obama adminsitration already allows for the prosecution of websites for treason if the Governmnet decides they are spreading false news on behalf of a foreign power.

The point is this. Mr reich said nothing about any of this prior to Trump being elected. The credibility of the media was lost to the viewing public YEARS ago which is why viewership ratings of the MSM plummets along with subscription rates to major newspapers. It why the NYT shuts down 8 floors in its main building and why many outlets close down overseas bureaus.

The MSM deserves to die.

That it will likely get worse under trump is a given , but the point here is that Mr Reichs is not a credible voice on this matter. He is partisan and has long supported the MSM. As such his desire to champion the mainstream media as a check on power rings hollow.

If there was another voice stating the same words such as Adam Johnson , who hs a record of critiquing the MSM than I would give much more weight to the article.

Given the history of Mr Reich and his lack of concern over the integrity of the MSM over the past decades, this article appears to me to be another attempt to salvage the reputation of the MSM alongside that "fake news Sites" BS by trying to turn the MSM into some sort of martyr.


You seem to be pushing the mythology that the MSM went after Trump.

Nothing can be further from the truth. If they had gone after Trump, they would have done actual investigative reporting, including getting the dirt on every one of his companies, his union busting activities, and called him out specifically on his countless lies during the campaign.

But the MSM doesn't do that of course, because of that whole corporate thing they have going no matter who is their "target".

Yes the MSM echoed his constant bullshit, and yes many in the MSM favored Clinton, but in total, the MSM did NOT take to task Donald Trump, and in fact gave him more media time by far than any other candidate, including Clinton, to spread his bullshit and poison.

I'm certain the Trump considers CD fake news, btw. But you can probably find that out directly from him.


I get all of that, however there IS truth to what Reich is saying here.

Understood that "killing the messenger" has its merits in this case, however the message rings true sans the messenger.

Trump will double down on every attack on actual press freedoms in this country.


By the way, I'm curious. In what way was the media dishonest toward the Trump?


If Nestles speaks to the UN on the need to protect our supplies of fresh water then YES recognizing they seek to privatize all sources I am going to kill the messenger.

if maude Barlow gave the same speech i would be more accepting of the message.

That the message of the need to protect our fresh water rings true in both cases does not mean it the same message. One is trying to an acheive an agenda I can not support via the Trojan horse of something that I do support. This is how "dirty Politics" work. It how Trump worked his con on the American people. It is how Obama worked his con in Libya. It the con HRC tried to work in her own run for President.


My point is, again, there is truth to the message here, sans the messenger.

Yes, I'm being a broken record, and my position is rationally sound.


We agree to disagree on the PRINCIPLES then none of which Mr reich has exhibited in the past.

I can also give quotes from speeches given by Donald Trump such as the need too bring jobs back to America or to change Free trade deals where the message is correct , but given the man a fraud and was just conning the people would meet with the same critiques from me.


From my first comment, I stated that I was not standing by Reich.

I said that it was appropriate to "kill the messenger", however there is truth to the message.

You are saying that the quotes from Trump, sans Trump being the messenger, were true.

Thus, my point stands, along with the points you make that I conceded from the first post.


If Trump is bypassing, ignoring and rejecting the MSM, then he is in line with many others of the ordinary public. The attacks on alternative news sources as Russian propaganda is ridiculous. People can think for themselves and decide what is "fake news". Attentive readers can remember and follow storylines for themselves.


The only lies that matter will be the ones that show up in the supporters checkbooks. That is the only lie that even has a hope of turning their allegiance and even at that, it might take 8 years for them to realize it as blinded as they are for the high they are getting off on racism, bigotry, sexual predation and dishonesty, that Trump has successfully picked their pocket.

My prediction: I think the gap has grown too wide to be bridged and either we will have a dystopian collapse or civil war.


Well since I said dishonest toward both Sanders and Trump but here...The NYT ran a story onTrumps personal life the authors where Barbero and Twohay the Post ran a defense of the Times surprise surprisebut did acknowledge this. "“The New York Times told us several times that they would make sure that my story that I was telling came across,” Lane told Earhardt. “They promised several times that they would do it accurately. They told me several times and my manager several times that it would not be a hit piece. And that my story would come across the way that I was telling it and honestly. And it absolutely was not.” Now couple that with the one sided coverage and the fact that these editors said that 'journalistic ethics be dammed we will get Trump"....Whether you support Trump or not the bias was obvious ..


Trump v. Clinton was a slime pit, and could be nothing else, given the low esteem most people in the US felt for them, and the lack of trust. They couldn't say positive things; no one would have believed them. So they stuck to insults and negatives and the one who survived was the one backed by that half of the corporate duopoly that's better at that (and cheating). So now the Republicans will continue the war against freedom of a press that's not held in much higher esteem than the 2 corporate candidates. It can only be yet another vile snake pit of venom-spitting, and no matter who wins we'll come out of it with even more damage to our fake democracy.


Welcome to the 1980s. Again. The Reagan administration ushered in the start of the mass media mergers and consolidations, and we watched as those reporters marked as "left-leaning" were quietly phased out. There was the same berating of media, ridicule of intellectuals, marginalization of well-rounded education. News reporting has been "tailored" ever since to reflect the corporate philosophy. With the Clinton years, we saw the rightward pull of the media marketed to liberals. Today, they implicitly (but powerfully) promote the corporate agenda by elevating the middle class and ignoring the consequences of our deregulated capitalism -- our poverty crisis. The views of, for example, democratic socialists were phased out, replaced with "pragmatic" capitalism.

At this point, I see no reason to expect significant changes in media.


"4. Bypass the Media and Communicate with the Public Directly."

This is exactly what Bernie said he would have done, only it would have been for the benefit of the Citizens, so as to hear his rallying cries, informing the Populace as to the Truth of the Matters facing us, which would have been under attack, or blacked out, by the Captured Media from day one.

Trump is proving to be an Inverted Populist, which anyone with any Critical Thinking capacity would have figured out early on.