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

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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 Breitbart.com 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 Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com 

Image: Screenshot via Bloomberg Politics/YouTube 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Anathema to the Soul of Our Nation’: Trump Pilloried for Demanding ‘Termination’ of the US Constitution

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The White House on Saturday afternoon responded to former President Donald Trump’s demand for the “termination” of the United States Constitution over non-existent “fraud and deception” in American elections, which he continues to claim cost him the presidency in 2020 and that he is expecting Republicans to embrace in his 2024 reelection campaign.

Trump wrote on his struggling fake Twitter app Truth Social:

ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!!

Trump followed up with:

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

He went on to add:

UNPRECEDENTED FRAUD REQUIRES UNPRECEDENTED CURE!

I wonder what Mitch McConnell, the RINOS, and all of the weak Republicans who couldn’t get the Presidential Election of 2020 approved and out of the way fast enough, are thinking now?

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the elections of 2022, or 2020, or any other major historical contest, let alone that which was pervasive enough to affect the results. And the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next – which Trump has attempted to upend through his lies and ultimately by mounting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 – is a key tenet that holds the American democratic experiment intact.

White House Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser for Strategic Response Andrew Bates touched on those points in a statement:

The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country. The Constitution brings the American people together – regardless of party – and elected leaders swear to uphold it. It’s the ultimate monument to all of the Americans who have given their lives to defeat self-serving despots that abused their powers and trampled on constitutional rights. Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned. You cannot love America only when you win.

The Democratic National Committee also fired back at Trump, as reported by Politico:

Donald Trump lost by 7 million votes in 2020 and his calls to undermine our democracy cost his party key races in 2022. The continued silence by Republican leaders, including his potential primary competitors, shows a MAGA party that is beholden to Trumpism, his divisive rhetoric, and his extreme positions.

Democratic lawmakers denounced Trump as well.

Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted:

Days after Trump dined with men who praise Hitler and the Nazis, he demands the ‘termination’ of the Constitution’s electoral process so he can be illegally reinstated. Trump’s words and actions are unacceptable, they stoke hatred and political violence, and they are dangerous. Every Member of Congress swore an oath to ‘defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ Donald Trump has openly declared himself an enemy of the Constitution, and Republicans must repudiate him.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz said:

Trump just called for the suspension of the Constitution and it is the final straw for zero republicans, especially the ones who call themselves ‘constitutional conservatives.

New York Representative Richie Torres noted that “January 6 was Donald Trump’s attempt at terminating the US Constitution. He’s a repeat offender.”

California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who regularly faces death threats, stated that “every congressional reporter should demand responses from Congressional Republicans about Donald Trump’s call for the Constitution to be terminated … how many of them called themselves ‘Constitutional conservatives’ during the Obama years???”

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said that “Trump just called for the suspension of the Constitution to overturn the 2020 results. Georgia VOTE. You stood tall against Trump and his minions last time. A win for [incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael] Warnock is another win for democracy.”

While outrage over Trump’s “truth” was not exclusive to the left, few on the right have stepped up to rebuke Trump. One exception, however, was ex-United Nations Ambassador and National Security Adviser John Bolton, who posted that “no American conservative can agree with Donald Trump’s call to suspend the Constitution because of the results of the 2020 election. And all real conservatives must oppose his 2024 campaign for president.”

 

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‘Big Whop’: Even Right-Wing Critics Are Slamming Elon Musk’s ‘Underwhelming’ Hunter Biden Twitter Escapade

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Right-wing Twitter users are weighing in to express their disapproval of the so-called bombshell “Twitter files” Elon Musk promised to deliver on Friday, December 2.

According to The Daily Beast, Musk was set to address Twitter’s decision to implement a policy that would restrict headlines and reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop from circulating on the social media platform. However, the leak ended up being a failure for many right-wing experts.

Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing radio host who previously served under the Trump administration, offered a critical response to Musk’s release after journalist Matt Taibbi shared a full Twitter thread about the findings.

READ MORE: Trump plotted to trade Mar-a-Lago files for ‘sensitive documents’ about his 2016 campaign Russia ties: report

“So far, I’m deeply underwhelmed,” Gorka said, adding, “We know the Dems in DC collude with the Dems in Palo Alto [Califonia]. Big Whop.”

He went on to reiterate his arguments when grilled by his far-right followers who were convinced that Musk’s Twitter files were some kind of “smoking gun.”

Per the news outlet: “Responding to a user claiming the Twitter company emails were ‘a clear violation of the 1st Amendment,’ the radio host fired back: ‘Err no, it’s not the DNC asking a private company to censor has nothing to do with the First Amendment.’”

Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, New York Post columnist Miranda Devine also disapproved of the release. “I feel that Elon Musk has held back some material,” she alleged. According to The Beast, Devine also claimed: “sinister forces were perhaps controlling Musk after the Twitter chief took a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier in the week.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio: ‘Not a crime’ to break federal law by taking top secret national security documents from the White House

She added, “In particular, there’s a tweet in which Matt Taibbi says he hasn’t seen any evidence that law enforcement specifically warned off Twitter from our story. But that’s just not correct.”

Free Beacon reporter Joe Simonson also echoed similar sentiments on Twitter. “Twitter files [are] underwhelming so far,” Simonson tweeted. “Just revealing what we already knew: Twitter was staffed by democrats who did the bidding of Democrats.”

READ MORE: Lauren Boebert to file defamation lawsuit against PAC claiming that she was once a ‘paid escort’: report

 

Image by Daniel Oberhaus (2018) via Flickr and a CC license

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'HELPING NORMALIZE A NAZI'

Musk’s Twitter Is ‘Welcoming With Open Arms’ a ‘Full-Fledged Nazi’ – and Recommending Users Follow Him: Reports

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Elon Musk‘s Twitter on Friday allowed Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi behind the infamous Daily Stormer website to return to the social media platform after a nine-year ban. Several Twitter users reported the social media platform is now recommending they follow him.

“Anglin has publicly indicated that the goal of his operation and adherence to white nationalist ideology is to ‘ethnically cleanse White nations of non-Whites and establish an authoritarian government. Many people also believe that the Jews should be exterminated,'” reported Rolling Stone on Friday. “Anglin is a staunch supporter of Nazi ideology and regularly espouses Holocaust denail. In 2018, Anglin wrote that he ‘[hates] women. I think they deserve to be beaten, raped and locked in cages.'”

WUSA 9 investigative reporter Jordan Fischer tweeted a screenshot of the Twitter recommendation.

READ MORE: Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports

As did other Twitter users.

Last month veteran journalist Nick Martin, who investigates hate and extremism, reported that “Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene shared a thread calling on Elon Musk to reinstate an array of racists, conspiracy theorists and serial harassers. The list includes fugitive neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, white supremacist David Duke and British neo-Nazi Mark Collett.”

At the top of that list is Milo Yiannopoulos, a right wing extremist and provocateur who has advocated for older men having sex with underaged teen boys. Yiannopoulos is also Greene’s intern who was reportedly part of the Kanye WestNick Fuentes dinner with Donald Trump.

“Andrew Anglin is the founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, which takes its name from the gutter Nazi propaganda sheet known as Der Stürmer,” the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported. “True to that vintage, Anglin is infamous for the crudity of his language and his thinking, a contrast to his sophistication as a prolific internet troll and serial harasser. Anglin’s organizing and harassment on the Daily Stormer led to lawsuits, and courts have awarded millions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs suing Anglin in recent years. But with his whereabouts unknown, Anglin has so far escaped full accountability for his actions.”

READ MORE: 15-Year Old Campaigning Door-to-Door for Raphael Warnock Shot Through Door– ‘No Indication’ Politically Motivated: Police

Indeed, just last month a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for Andrew Anglin, who is “accused of ignoring a $14 million judgment against him for orchestrating an antisemitic harassment campaign against a Montana woman’s family,” The Billings Gazette had reported.

SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah responded to Anglin’s return to Twitter by reminding him he still owes him “$4.1 million dollars for sending your Nazis to kill me. Do you have the $?! I want to donate it groups that counter the very hate you spew!”

“Musk is helping normalize a Nazi,” he adds.

Amy Spitalnick, the executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA) called Anglin “a full-fledged Nazi who runs the Daily Stormer and, among many other things, was found liable for the Charlottesville violence in our lawsuit. A perfect example of the vile, violent extremists Musk is welcoming with open arms.”

Image: Elon Musk, photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani via Flickr

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