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Could Trump’s Disdain for the Press Lead to Russian-Like State-Controlled Media?



Actual Press Coverage to Be Limited for a Trump Presidency?

Will Donald Trump’s unprecedented disdain for the mainstream media lead to various forms of state-controlled press, like Russian president Vladimir Putin has created?

Here was Trump at a rally, attacking the “dishonest” media, less than one week before the election. That attack included calling out by name Katy Tur of NBC News, who was in the press box:

The press and the American presidency traditionally have had a relationship that at times appears adversarial, while at other times is viewed as seemingly cozy and nearly conspiratorial in nature. While the American people have come to expect this state of affairs, the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has drastically altered the very dynamics of that relationship. 

Media critics, watchdog groups, and Trump’s opponents have charged that the President-elect has manipulated, bullied, and cajoled American media into covering his campaign, and now presidential transition, without regard to his more egregious actions, statements, flip-flops, or outright misstatement of fact. His detractors claim that media outlets seem uninterested or unable to holding him accountable.    

One troubling factor is Trump’s ability and penchant for going around the mainstream media via social media to engage with the public directly. Veteran journalist and senior editor, Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post’s media columnist, noted this past week:

In many ways, Trump can bypass the traditional press — using YouTube or Twitter to take his message to the world without pesky journalistic fact-checking or filtering. 

He has masterfully manipulated the media for the past 18 months — bullying reporters, garnering billions in free publicity and portraying journalists as part of the corporate structure that must be brought down so that the people can triumph.

That’s a deeply misleading and dangerous picture. In fact, U.S. citizens need an independent press more than ever. 

Journalists, and their corporate bosses, shouldn’t allow themselves to be used as props in Trump’s never-ending theater.

Trump’s willingness to by-pass the media sets a dangerous precedent according to David Karpf, a political communications professor at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Speaking with CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) political journalist Matt Kwong Tuesday, Karp warned:

“If Trump effectively shuts down the White House press corps, and only provides interviews to some amalgamation of and Fox News,” he says, “there’s a very real risk that within six months to a year we’re going to have something that looks like [state-controlled] Russia Today and [former Soviet newspaper] Pravda.” 

Is it possible that a marginalised press corps is a path to a “quasi-state-controlled apparatus” in the U.S.? Yes, according to a broadcast news executive for Comcast-Universal, the parent company of NBC News. Speaking with NCRM on the condition of anonymity, he said, “These are valid concerns raised by Professor Karpf.” 

The executive, knowledgeable about the meeting held at Trump’s transition headquarters this week in New York between various media representatives and the President-elect, indicated that Trump and his team’s disdain for the collective gathering was obvious: 

“He [Trump] was lecturing the media representatives present, complaining that their coverage was biased and unfair. At one point he became agitated over one media outlet’s use of photograph that he deemed made him less attractive with a double chin.”

There was nothing of policy import, no discussions of a post-election press conference, the type normally held by a president-elect within the first days of winning office and no concrete commitment by either Trump or his transition team regarding allowing for greater press access, daily briefings, or a pool to cover him.

Take, for example, the report published late Wednesday that finds President-elect Trump has had more contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin than any other world leader, and their aides have been communicating as well.

Then take the response of Jason Miller, the Trump transition team’s communications director’s response to reporters:

Lynn Walsh, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, an organisation whose stated mission is to promote and defend the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press as well as encourage high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism; echoing Professor Karpf’s concerns to CBC’s Kwong cautioned:

“All the information is coming through one filter. It’s Trump’s opinion, his angle, his team, without allowing anyone from the outside — whether a journalist or the public — to question it.”

Trump has used Twitter to defend himself against conflict of interest allegations over his continuing involvement in his global business empire, attempted to spin coverage of a $25 million settlement in the Trump University fraud cases, incited feuds with news outlets, most notably The New York Times. Then too, in an extraordinary never before seen display of anger by a president-elect, Trump lashed out at the cast of the popular Broadway musical “Hamilton” after they lectured Vice President-elect Mike Pence who was in the audience last week and also taking aim at NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ whose comedic parody of him he deemed ‘unfunny’ and said that the show needed to go away. 

Trump and his team limiting press access was defended by Fox News pundit Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel program Tuesday night. Hannity stated that Trump should reconsider granting traditional access to reporters until they and their media bosses admit to colluding with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “Trump can do this and speak directly to you, the America people, without having his words twisted and taken out of context,” he said. 

Mike McCurry, former White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton was more blunt in his assessment. “He’s saying, ‘I’ve got some power that you barons in the mainstream media are losing,’ and that’s direct access to an audience through social media,” McCurry said. The bottom line as far as Trump is concerned?  McCurry opined that Trump’s overall sense of his relationship with the press seems to be one of: “I can make you pay a price if you’re not willing to work with me.”

Adding to media’s consternation, Trump and his team have been seemingly resistant to adopting the “protective pool,” a tradition that dates back decades, which allows a small group of reporters, representing the extended White House press corps and other media, access to the president-elect, keeping them near in the event of breaking news or national security.

Since his election Trump has ditched the press, first when he barred the pool from flying with him on his plane when he went to Washington to meet with President Obama, and afterwards simply returning to New York without alerting the press he had left D.C. Then a few days later after his spokesperson had called a “lid” to the reporters assigned to him, he and his family left for a dinner unannounced at Manhattan’s 21 Club. The “lid” should have signaled an end to the day’s activities for the president-elect. Although the press pool did travel to Florida with Trump for Thanksgiving, in move seen again as out of ordinary for a president-elect, they were flown on a separate plane. 

Communication and the free-flow of information from an incoming presidency is a must for a free and democratic society to be kept informed as to the actions of its leaders. In the case of the American presidency it probably more so critical given the nature of the office and a president’s impact on the global community at large. Trump’s seeming indifference and disregard for the previously established traditions and conventions sets a dangerous precedent.


Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at 

Image: Screenshot via Bloomberg Politics/YouTube 


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Lindsey Graham Admonished by Senate Ethics Committee



U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been formally admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol.

The bipartisan committee issued Graham a Public Letter of Admonition after the South Carolina Republican solicited donations for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.

“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee,, five separate times.”

The letter notes that Sen. Graham had previously violated the same standards when he solicited campaign donations in a federal building in October of 2020, but said it was an “unplanned media interview.” When a reporter had asked him about fundraising, Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his re-election campaign.

READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing

The Committee noted “mitigating” circumstances and did not cite him for that violation.

“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the letter concludes. “Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished.”

CNN’s Manu Raju posted the letter to social media.

You can read the letter below or at this link.

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Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing



U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.

“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”

“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.

After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”

READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation

Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”

Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.

“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.

ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”

“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.

READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs

On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.

“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.

According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.

Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”

And one called Fallon “feckless.”

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‘Repercussions’: Biden White House Warns Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Force US to Cancel $950 Million in Annual Aid



The Biden administration may cancel the $950 million in annual assistance the U.S. provides to Uganda if President Yoweri Museveni signs into law its latest “Kill the Gays” bill, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and between ten and 20 years in prison for other LGBTQ “acts.”

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Wednesday made clear if Uganda further criminalizes homosexuality and the LGBTQ community there could be “repercussions that we would have to take.”

“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance,” Admiral Kirby said at a White House press briefing.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters Wednesday the Biden administration has “grave concerns” over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), and “increasing violence targeting LGBTQIA+ persons.”

READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case

“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest in Uganda and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” Jean-Pierre warned. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”

Kirby and Jean-Pierre’s remarks came on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

“The United States provides more than $950 million in aid to Uganda each year, according to the State Department. The money supports development and health care measures, such as combating HIV/AIDS,” Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “Uganda is already among 30 African countries that ban same-sex relations. The new proposal would broaden penalties and appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+, according to Human Rights Watch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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