Monday, April 23, 2018

Party Of Trump, Party Of Treason

The most egregious treason committed by the Party of Trump is not limited to their corruption, kleptocracy, or kakistocracy by the worst, least qualified, and most unscrupulous citizens. It's not even in their fealty to Putin.

Putin and the Trump Administration will be gone eventually. But what will remain?

The Party of Trump and their legions of Angry White Americans are at war with our Constitution’s First Amendment. The founders knew a free press is vital to inform the citizens of democratic representative republic, as well as to question and speak truth to power. There is no place for this freedom in the far Right's plan for totalitarian dominance.

In his masterpiece1984 George Orwell explained the mission of  the Party’s “Ministry of Truth”, its propaganda agency. “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

The radical Right has been almost subliminally waging this stealth war on our free press for decades. Now it's open warfare. The Big MAGAt has accused the press of being the “enemy of the people”.

It's all founded on the Cult of Right-wing Authoritarian Personalities’ most important Big Lie. "Liberal media", and now “fake news” are wielded as weapons against our First Amendment.

If you buy this lie, you are drinking their cult koolade. You’ve  surrendered to their authoritarian seizure of defining terms of debate and discourse. I have often noted the Nazis of the 1930's used the term “Lügenpresse”, or lying press, in their campaign to destroy journalism. The Party of Trump is employing the same fascist tactic.

The C.R.A.P. must be stopped, or the Great Experiment in Democracy will most certainly collapse into utter failure, leaving us a totalitarian Orwellian nightmare. 

It can’t be overstated. This is arguably the most critical threat to our freedom, democracy and the very soul of our nation. I’m donating the remaining space of this post to a professional. Please share this

NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen gave this speech which he shared on a long twitter thread.


"The Campaign to Discredit the Press"

Professor Jay Rosen
April 21, 2018

There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding.

Its roots are long. For decades the Republican coalition has tried to hang together by hating on elites who claim to know things, like “what is art?” Or: “what should college students be taught?” Or: “what counts as news?”

The media wing of this history extends back to Goldwater’s campaign in 1964. It passes through Agnew’s speeches for Nixon in 1969, and winds forward to our own time through William Rusher's 1988 book, 'The Coming Battle for the Media'...

... then through the growth of conservative talk radio, and in the spectacular success of Fox, which found a lucrative business model in resentment news, culture war, and the battle cry of liberal bias.

Donald Trump is both the apotheosis of this history and its accelerant. He has advanced the proposition dramatically. From undue influence — that was Agnew’s claim — to something closer to treason: “enemy of the people.”

Instead of criticizing The Media for unfair treatment, as Agnew did, Trump whips up hatred for it. Some of his most demagogic moments have been attacks on the press, often by singling out reporters and camera crews for abuse during rallies held in an atmosphere of menace.

Nixon seethed about the press in private. Trump seethes in public, a very different act. But his transformation of right wing media complaint goes beyond these lurid performances.

It starts at the top with the President’s almost daily attacks on “the fake news,” and his description of key institutions — the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC — as both failing AND corrupt. Contempt thus has two places to settle.

At the bottom of the pyramid is an army of online trolls and alt right activists who shout down stories critical of the President, and project hatred at the journalists who report them.

Between the President at the top and the base at the bottom are the mediating institutions: Breitbart, Drudge Report, Daily Caller, Rush Limbaugh and especially Fox News.

The campaign to discredit the American press operates differently on the three major sections of the Trumpified electorate: supporters, opponents, and those who are not in either camp.

For core supporters, media hate helps frames the president as a fighter for them. “I will put these people down for you” was one of the most attractive promises Trump made during the campaign. He has delivered on that pledge.

They in turn deliver for him by categorically rejecting news reports that are critical of the President, in the belief that biased journalists are simply trying to bring their guy down.

On his committed opponents, the President’s political style “works” by inviting ridicule and attack. Their part in the script is simply to keep the culture war going via native responses to the awfulness of the Trump phenomenon.

The anger, despair and disbelief that Trump inspires in his most public doubters is felt as confirmation, and consumed as entertainment by his most committed supporters— and his trolls.

Notice how if Trump’s opponents defend the reporting of an elite institution like the New York Times — or simply make reference to it as revealed fact — that only supports his campaign to discredit the press as a merely ideological institution.

Then there’s the third group: Americans who are neither committed supporters nor determined critics of Donald Trump. On them, the campaign to discredit the press works by generating noise and confusion, raising what economists call search costs for good information.

If the neither/nors give up and are driven from the attention field, that is a win for Trump, the polarizer-in-chief. So that’s my short course in how the campaign to discredit the American press operates. Now let me turn to our subject: the risks that come with this pattern.

There is a risk that one third of the electorate — his core supporters — will be isolated in an information loop of their own, where Trump is the source of news about Trump, and independent sources are rejected on principle.

I described this as a risk, but in fact it has already happened. An authoritarian system is up and running for that portion of the polity. Another way to say it: Before journalists log on in the morning, one third of their public is already gone.

There is a risk that Republican elites will fail to push back against Trump’s attacks on democratic institutions, including the press, even though these same elites start their day by reading the New York Times and Washington Post. This too has already happened.

There is a risk that journalists could do their job brilliantly, and it won’t really matter, because Trump supporters categorically reject it, Trump opponents already believed it, and the neither-nors aren’t paying close enough attention.

In a different way, there is a risk that journalists could succeed at the production of great journalism and fail at its distribution, because the platforms created by the tech industry have overtaken the task of organizing public attention.

There is a risk that the press will lose touch with the country, fall out of contact with the culture. Newsroom diversity is supposed to prevent that, but the diversity project has been undermined by a longer and deeper project, which I have called the View from Nowhere.

The press is at risk of losing its institutional footing. For example: In the hands of Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders, the White House briefing has gone to ruin. It was always frustrating, now it’s useless and frequently counter-productive.

Many floors below the surface of journalism there are bedrock attitudes that make the practice possible— and thinkable. There is a risk of erosion there. One example is the shared belief that there exists a common world of fact that can be established through inquiry...

When the President of the United States forcefully rejects the premise of a common world of fact, and behaves like there is no such thing, any practice resting upon that premise is in political trouble. This has happened to journalism. No one knows what to do about it.

Used to be that when the American president went abroad, the press came with. There would be a joint press conference with the foreign head of state. Under authoritarian regimes this would often be the only time the host country’s press corps got to question their own leader.

In these moments, the American government and the American press came together to show the strongmen of the world what a real democracy was. All that is now at risk. What was once described — yes, with some hyperbole — as a beacon to the world is flickering...

When Donald Trump met the president Xi Jinping of China in November of 2017 there was no joint press conference. The Chinese didn’t want it. The State Department failed to press for it.

There is a risk that established forms of journalism will be unable to handle the strain that Trump’s behavior puts upon them. For example: the form we came to call fact checking has had zero effect in preventing him from repeating falsehoods.

There is a risk that journalists will hang onto these forms way past their sell-by date because it’s what they know. They want things to be normal. Access to confusion and disinformation serves no editorial goal, but “access journalism” remains basic to White House reporting.

I will close with something Steve Bannon put to the author Michael Lewis in February of this year. "The Democrats don't matter,” Bannon said. “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit."

To this kind of provocation (“The real opposition is the media...") Marty Baron, editor of the Washington Post, has a succinct reply: “We’re not at war, we’re at work.”

I think our leading journalists are correct that if they become the political opposition to Trump, they will lose. And yet they have to go to war against a political style in which power gets to write its own story. There's a risk that journalists will fail to draw this distinction: between opposing Trump and opposing a political style that erodes their place in the public sphere. In my role as a critic, I have been trying to alert them to that danger. So far it is not working.


Bill said...

Scary. Really scary.

Ex Con servative said...

I agree, very scary indeed.

In my opinion, maybe the worst thing that has happened in this country has been the use of the media by the right to spread their destructive agenda. It is no coincidence that Limbaugh came onto the airwaves only a few months after the right got their wish of repealing the Fairness Doctrine. Hence, the public airwaves no longer had to be "fair and balanced", and could be used for pure propaganda. It worked pretty well on me for about twelve years, I'm sorry to say. This was all a well planned attack, with all the talking points from the right coming from their "stink tanks." While there are some countering viewpoints in the media in the last decade, don't discount the twenty year head start that the bastards got, along with all the media consolidation.

To think there was actually a time when the news you heard on the airwaves was actually expected to be truthful. Most people weren't even aware the change had happened in late 1987, me included.I got duped, but I came to my senses finally.

Liberal media my A$$.

Dave Dubya said...

USA! USA! We’re #45! We’re #45!


U.S. Press Freedom Ranking Falls Again, Thanks To ‘Media-Bashing Enthusiast’ Trump

Donald Trump’s unrelenting attacks on the free press have created a “Trump effect” promoting antagonism against journalists in the U.S. and abroad, the media watchdog and advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday in its annual World Press Freedom Index.

The U.S. dropped two spots in the world ranking, to 45th, from last year. The group, also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, attributed the downgrade to Trump’s incendiary anti-press rhetoric and his attempts to curtail media access.

The rankings cite an overall decline in global press freedom, with a “climate of hatred” for the press that is “openly encouraged by political leaders.”... But the group also warned anti-media hatred is rising in democratic nations like the United States, which is “disappointing for the country of the First Amendment,” Margaux Ewen, the group’s North America executive director, said an event unveiling the rankings. Reporters Without Borders blamed Trump, calling him “a media-bashing enthusiast.”

Trump’s “violent anti-press rhetoric” and attempts to block access to government information has influenced local officials, and has led to the arrests of journalists for covering protests or for asking questions of public officials. Reporters also have faced violent attacks by public figures, such as Montana Republican Greg Gianforte’s body-slam of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs last year during a congressional campaign.

Ex Con servative said...

Yeah, but we have more billionaires than ever...isn't that all that matters?

Another great quality of life stat that we suck at, along with inequality, upward mobility, infant mortality, healthcare cost and accessibility, education cost and outcome, etc. etc.

We are making America great again though!

U.P. Tim said...

Yeah, but we spend more on our military than what the next 12-16 countries do combined. Millionaires and billionaires sucking of the teats of the Military/Industrial complex. They want to cut the big three Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, so the above mentioned bullshit can continue. I heard yesterday that the Repubs want to change the way capital gains are taxed and could give the rich about another 100 billion in tax cuts. I guess the Liar-in-chief really went over the edge on Comey today on Faux News. What a dangerous clown Trump is.

Majormajor said...

Maybe President Trump will give his Peace Prize money to you Dave, then you can give it to the govt.

Ex Con servative said...

Great article currently on by Thom Hartmann about fascism in America. Yes, it can happen here. A great read for anybody interested. A lot of historical references and facts, which makes it all the more chilling.The media control and hyper nationalism has been going on for quite some time.

Dave Dubya said...

Peace prize? The Koreans are the ones talking peace and ending their war. Personally, I'd give the prize to them over the Angry White Guy howling about fire and fury.

But thanks for letting us in on the new chant at the rally. Did you have a good time?

Was that you screaming "degenerate filth" at the press? The German Nazis used the term “Lügenpresse”, or lying press, in their campaign to destroy journalism. But hats off to the Trumpie for using "degenerate", echoing another favorite term of the Nazis.

"Very fine people", as Dear Leader knows.

And ALL the great countries have leaders who attack the press, or have their own state media shilling for them, amirite?

Dave Dubya said...

Majormajor and his Party of Trump have allies in their war on journalism. A terror attack killed nine journalists, among many others, in Kabul.

What's the name of the Nobel Prize for attacks on the press? That's the one Trump wins.

Dave Dubya said...

Ex Con,


"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information." —Vice President Henry Wallace

Mission accomplished.

Majormajor said...

Yes Dave it was me....was it you in the mask breaking windows in a protest against a Conservative speaker?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Chuck, you still haven't answered my question...

Jefferson's Guardian said...

"Was that you screaming 'degenerate filth' at the press?" ~~ Dave Dubya


"Yes Dave it was me..." ~~ Majormajor (aka, Chuck)

This confirms Chuck's anarchist anti-democratic ways. He can now add these credentials to his already racist profile.

Congratulations, Chuck, you're a certifiable enemy of Contitutional 1st Amendment rights.

Majormajor said...

Get a life and a sense of humor while you're at it Dave.

Ex Con servative said...

Your columns exhibit a very well developed sense of humor Dave, well needed in this age of Drumpf. Just doesn't have the same ring, does it?

I heard a great clip of Ronnie Raygun this morning from 1948, chastising the Republican Congress, and all the evils and sins that came with it, including making the elites wealthier on the backs of the poor...almost enough to make me toss my cookies. Only two years of Republican control of Congress was enough to make him speak out against them at the time. The American people got wise, and the Dems controlled Congress for the next few decades, and the middle class was developed. The "new" Reagan ushered in trickle down, and now we are going on four decades of CRAP....more billionaires than ever though.