“Once they succeeded in ending democracy and turning Germany into a one-party dictatorship, the Nazis orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign to win the loyalty and cooperation of Germans. The Nazi Propaganda Ministry, directed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, took control of all forms of communication in Germany: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings, and rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Viewpoints in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime were censored or eliminated from all media.” – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Under Trump, “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.” – Alexander Bolton, The Hill, 19 January 2017
“Speaking from the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, before a wall of stars honoring intelligence officers who died in service, Trump declared, “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth, right?” – Donald Trump speaking at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, Saturday, 21 January 2017
Robert B. Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He recently wrote an article titled, “Trump’s Seven Techniques to Control the Media: Tyrants always try to suppress a free press; here’s Trump’s playbook.” The Seven Techniques are:
- Berate the media
- Blacklist critical media
- Turn the public against the media
- Condemn satirical or critical comments
- Threaten the media directly
- Limit media access
- Bypass the media and communicate with the public directly
Historically, these seven techniques have been used by demagogues to erode the freedom and independence of the press. For the full article, click here I think we can all agree that Trump has done each of the seven listed here.
Daily White House press briefings are under scrutiny as Mike Pence says they are “giving some consideration to finding a larger venue on the 18 acres in the White House complex to accommodate the extraordinary interest.” While there could be some logic to that, as the current briefing room has seating for about 50, and standing room for another 35 or so, the press corps is not happy with this move, saying that it “will fight to keep the briefing room and West Wing access to senior administration officials open. We object strenuously to any move that would shield the president and his advisers from the scrutiny of an on-site White House press corps.” Some speculate that the additional capacity is nothing more than an effort by Trump to pack the audience with his own supporters in order to cheer his announcements and shout down any reporters that ask difficult questions, thus turning the White House briefings into yet another rally. Still others wonder if the Trump team is considering getting rid of the daily press briefings altogether, expecting us to rely solely on Twitter communiques for our information.
A recent Twitter exchange (how else does anyone in the current regime communicate???), White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, NBC’s Chuck Todd, and CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Schiutto:
Spicer: Regardless of party, @acosta behavior was rude, inappropriate and disrespectful. He owes @realDonaldTrump and his colleagues an apology
Todd: There’s nothing in the first amendment about being polite (hashtags removed for clarity)
Spicer: Your right Chuck, I wasn’t quoting the constitution and didn’t bring up 1st Amend. Sad you defend this tho
Schiutto: CNN’s @Acosta reports Trump spokesman @seanspicer told him he’ll be kicked out of future press confs if he presses hard for ques again
Spicer: Not true, but par for the course in terms of the false reporting
The bottom line and crucial question is this: Could the White House, i.e. Trump, suspend the press passes for individual journalists or media outlets. The simple answer is that yes, in all likelihood they could, but it is seen as unlikely, as it would not be a smart move. But then … look who we are talking about.
“Because administrations generally don’t want to be seen as deciding who is or isn’t a qualified journalist, it’s unheard of for a reporter to be suspended for the quality of his or her reporting or behavior, though there are a few notable cases of reporters being barred for security reasons.” – Foreign Policy
Adolph Hitler took power in Germany in 1933. Book burnings began that same year. During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy.
We are not to that point … yet. Let us not allow our nation to get there.
“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.