It was only a tweet … no more than 140 characters, and not much different than many others he has thumbed over the past two years, but it sent a shockwave through the media and the thinkers in the nation.
“Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”
I have used the terms ‘authoritarian’ and ‘autocrat’ in the same sentence with ‘Trump’ more than a few times over the past two years. Some thought I was being a bit alarmist, others overlooked it as ‘writer’s hype’. Whatever meaning my readers chose, I meant it as seriously as I have ever meant anything. I am given to deep thought, not hyperbole, so when I say Trump is a ‘wannabe king’, I am calling it as I see it. And now others are seeing it as I have for months … years.
The tweet was one of those early morning ones … we all picture him sitting on the potty, his handlers not yet having arrived to wash and dress him. Understand that by “fake news”, Trump means news that does not praise him, news that … GASP … has the unmitigated gall to actually criticize him. The truth — as hundreds of fact checks have shown — is that the biggest purveyor of fake news in the country right now is Trump. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, Trump has made 1,145 false or misleading claims in his first 232 days in office. That’s 4.9 false or misleading statements per day. Think about that one for a minute. Even the biggest fibber I have known couldn’t top that record.
Trump has praised Alex Jones, the purveyor of imagination-based conspiracy theories, saying things such things as, “Your reputation’s amazing. I will not let you down.” His favourite network for news is the unquestionably biased Fox News. And he licks the hand of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon. Yet he calls the most reliable news outlets in the nation “fake news”. All of which we have learned to live with, learned to take with a grain of salt, else simply tune out, as the bratty child who goes around all day long whining the same whine. This, then, is the danger … that his rhetoric, his lies, become the norm and we adapt by tuning them out, by ignoring him.
But a threat, however vague, against the Fourth Estate, is a threat against us all, and it rings as loudly of authoritarianism as did the sound of jackboots on the cobbled pavement of the Nuremberg parade grounds where Hitler held his propaganda rallies.
Virtually every president has had issues with the press … it is the nature of the beast. But none before have been so convinced the media is comprised primarily of liberals trying to push their agenda behind the guise of neutrality. Does Trump actually believe what he claims, or is it more rhetoric, the sole purpose of which is to keep his followers riled? Who knows? It doesn’t matter, for either way, it is a dangerous game and one that needs to end before this travesty results in more unfettered power for Trump and less transparency for We The People.
As I typed that previous sentence at 12:50 a.m., the following banner flashed across my screen …
DOJ demands Facebook information from ‘anti-administration activists’
And the ‘developing story’ thus far …
Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as “anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration’s policies.”
The information requested … nay, demanded … would include any and all who have visited their pages or interacted with them via post, chat, comment, etc. Think about that last post you commented on yesterday, the one criticizing Trump for _________________________ (fill in the blank). Perhaps it originated by one of the three activists being investigated. You are now on the radar.
On the campaign trail last year, Trump said …
“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”
I found that chilling then … I find it even more so tonight. This is a man who wanted the job of president for one reason only: power. But, as he settles in, if he can be said to be doing so, he is finding that the power he envisioned has limits, that he is not a king, but rather an elected official who answers to the citizens of this nation. The citizens, with the exception of his lemmings, are not happy. He really doesn’t care that we are not happy, except … in our unhappiness, we are petitioning our members of Congress, and we are speaking out loud and clear. His dilemma, then, becomes how to ensure that we do not have access to the goings-on in his administration. How best to do that? I leave that to you to answer for tonight, for I am tired. Think about it.