How Far Is Too Far?

No president in modern times has escaped the criticism of the press.  It is a fact of life that if the press are doing their jobs, they will inevitably frustrate and even anger the president from time to time.  Most presidents, however, respect the Fourth Estate, realize that what they are doing is precisely what they are supposed to do, and try to work with them. Such is not the case with Donald Trump.

He has denigrated the legitimate press since long before he won the election, and has taken his press-bashing to new highs since taking office nearly a year ago.  But last week, he crossed yet another line of propriety.  His plan is to have a “Fake News Awards” presentation.

 “I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!” – 8:05 PM – Jan 2, 2018

Apparently something came up that delayed his plans, possibly his feud on Sunday with the Wall Street Journal …

“The Fake News Awards, those going to the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media, will be presented to the losers on Wednesday, January 17th, rather than this coming Monday. The interest in, and importance of, these awards is far greater than anyone could have anticipated!” – 3:35 PM – 7 Jan 2018

fake news awards.jpgCan you imagine President Obama, or even President Bush speaking in this manner? Now, obviously this is not only poor form and poor taste, but is so beneath the dignity of the Oval Office, the office of the president, that we must ask ourselves if his advisors were even consulted. Surely John Kelly could not have condoned this idiocy?

Even as far back as Thomas Jefferson, presidents have had complaints about the press. In fact, according to a February 17, 2017 Washington Post article …

Jefferson-free-press“Thomas Jefferson was as irritated with newspaper coverage as any public figure of his era. For all the talk of media bias today, it can’t compare to the overt partisanship and personal attacks appearing in papers in our nation’s early years. But Jefferson also knew that our democracy could only flourish with a free press that would keep an eye on people in power and help protect our freedoms. He understood that press coverage comes and goes, but freedom of the press must endure.” – Ken Paulson, president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center

Trump, on the other hand, has criticized the legitimate media since the day he threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, and I don’t think a single day has passed that we have not had to hear his cries of “fake news”, “lying press”, and worse.  He even went so far as to label the press “the enemy of the American people”. He has threatened on more than one occasion to ‘strengthen’ libel laws to keep the press from insulting him.  And this would all be a big joke, except …

Some people actually believe him.  He cavorts freely with Fox News and Breitbart, both homes of the conspiracy theorists, while shouting loudly about the ‘failing’ New York Times, and the ‘Amazon/Washington Post’.  In October, he called for the revocation of NBC’s broadcast license.  He has trod that fine line of trampling the constitutional right to a free press.  His minions have, more than once, criticized the press, not for getting facts wrong, for that is extremely rare, but for failing to agree with their boss.

The purpose of the press is to keep the public informed and hold those who serve in public office accountable for their actions, accountable to We The People.  Their job is not to be ‘yes-men’, always agreeing with the president.  In my opinion, they have treated him more kindly than I would have, or than I have, for that matter.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), is a non-profit organization that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists around the globe.  They have responded to Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’ with their own special awards …

From a January 8th Press Release:

CPJ recognizes global Press Oppressors amid Trump’s fake news awards

Acknowledging world leaders who attack and restrict press

New York, January 8, 2018–As U.S. President Donald Trump announces his “Fake Media” awards, the Committee to Protect Journalists names its global Press Oppressors–world leaders who use rhetoric, legal action, and censorship to try to silence their critics. The list features leaders from China, Egypt, Myanmar, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and the United States who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media at a time when a record number of journalists are being jailed for their work.

“It’s staggering to see the extent to which some world leaders are so fearful of their critics and the truth,” said CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch, from Washington, D.C. “At a time when the number of journalists in prison globally is at a record high the failure of President Donald Trump and other leaders to stand up for press freedom risks weakening democracy and human rights.”

The Global Press Oppressors list includes four categories as well as an award for the Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom:

Most Thin-skinned

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

Runner-Up: President Donald Trump, United States

Most Outrageous Use of Terror Laws Against the Press

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

Runner-Up: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt

Tightest Grip on Media*

President Xi Jinping, China

Runner-Up: President Vladimir Putin, Russia

*This category excludes countries with no independent media, such as North Korea and Eritrea.

Biggest Backslider in Press Freedom

State Counselor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar

Runner-Up: President Andrzej Duda, Poland

Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom

President Donald Trump, United States

Note to Editors: Copies of the Global Press Oppressors can be viewed at https://cpj.org/blog/2018/01/press-oppressor-awards-trump-fake-news-fakies.php

Are Trump’s “Fake News Awards” legal?  For him, sure, because he has immunity from executive branch ethical standards.  His staff, however, are a different matter.  According to a number of experts, including former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, and Norm Eisen, former special counsel for ethics for President Barack Obama, if White House staff members were involved, they would be in violation of the executive branch’s Standards of Ethical Conduct.

I do not imagine that there will be any charges levelled at staff members, and I expect Trump’s little ceremony will be a fiasco that will be applauded by his 37% followers.  What I would liketo see happen, what I think absolutely should happen, but won’t, is for the press to boycott Trump’s little ceremony.  Let Fox and Breitbard cover it, and the legitimate media put up a wall of silence.  That would deprive Trump and his little game of any sense of legitimacy, and perhaps he would get the message that We The People are sick and damned tired of him playing elementary school-type games and would like to have an adult in the White House.

I know it won’t happen, for all the news outlets depend on revenue, and “if it bleeds, it leads”, so we will no doubt see this silliness ad nauseam on Wednesday and for the rest of the week.  And yes, I will likely succumb and write another post about it also.  But beware, my friends, for this is just one more step in Trump’s attempt to oppress our free press by convincing his followers that the mainstream media are ‘dishonest’ and ‘lying’, as he has been telling them all along.  Remember … Democracy Dies in Darkness.

35 thoughts on “How Far Is Too Far?

  1. The fact that Trump is trying to have the media is own way proves he is just about the biggest fool ever to take high office in the USA.
    The more he squawks the bigger the hole he digs. He is only talking to his own followers and is not convincing anyone else. Whinge, whinge, whinge. High Holy! What a pathetic excuse for an incumbent. He really can’t handle the pressure can he. Stuck all these years in his own little bubble and now he’s in a place where folk won’t play his game….
    Aww…boo-hoo.

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  2. All news is good news, no matter how bad that news is. I’ve watched it in microcosm, and now I am seeing it in macrocosm. Trump, for everything that he is and is not, is not a fool, as much as we would like to hope and think he is. He is one of the slyest and wiliest men alive today, able to dupe millions of people into seeing the vision he wants them to see (and remain blind to the reality that is Donald Trump). And, I do not hesitate to say this, but I hope I can say this in a way not to alienate the American people, American voters believe so adamantly in the power of democracy that very few can imagine the real threat he is to their way of life. This man is out for himself, and his rich business cronies. He has no interest in “We, the People,” except to subjegate them, and turn them into his slaves. He cannot openly worship Hitler, but he can and will offer up the USA to become a jewel in the Putin Empire, probably believing (albeit mistakenly) that Putin will allow him to rule the world side-by-side. I actually believe, if Trump gets his way before someone stops him, and he delivers America to Russia, Putin will be the one to have a bullet put in the front of his head. Putin is vain enough to want Trump to watch as he gets killed, and know who ordered that killing. It this is allowed to go on…

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I agree that he is sly, and that he is out only for himself, I disagree that he is intelligent. I still believe his strings are being manipulated by the puppeteer, Vladimir Putin in all likelihood. Will we ever know for sure? Perhaps not. But the bottom line is that he is a danger either way. Your scenario rings true, though, and certainly once Trump is no longer of use to Putin, once ol’ Vlad has what he wants, ‘bang’. LeCarre couldn’t have written this better, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      • For sure. Yeah, we come at things from different angles, and probably use the same words differently…But I am just as sure we use different words similarly. As you say, either way, DT is a real and present danger to everyone. And IF he is doing all this without knowing what he is doing, that for me makes our future scarier than rotten tomatoes…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: How Far Is Too Far? — Filosofa’s Word | Shediac1981; A Blue Wall of Silence

    • True … but unfortunately, he has the world mesmerized, much as a bad train wreck, and it guarantees that he will occupy the front pages every day. Even the European news sites lead with the latest escapade of Trump. Sigh.

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  4. Dear Jill,

    If the president were to succeed in altering the libel laws, he would be spending the rest of his life in the courthouses as he is the number one offender of spreading lies about others, but he is also the number 1 beneficiary of existing libel laws.

    There has not been one president who has been spared the stings of criticism by the press but that is part of the job description and the price for it being a check on power.

    We shouldn’t have to be subject to his reality TV show flourishes because the president is so thin-skinned.

    Whichever media outlet is the recipient of this award, its executives should display it and give it plenty of coverage because in my mind, this would be akin to winning a Pulitzer prize.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree 100%. The nature of the beast is that the press will be a thorn in the president’s side, at least from time to time, and anyone too thin-skinned to take it should not even consider the job. I especially like your final comment, that whoever winds this ‘ward’ should proudly display it as it is akin to a Pulitzer! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for the re-blog!!! Isn’t this the most ridiculous, juvenile thing you’ve ever heard? Want to go in with me and buy a very small island in the Pacific somewhere, with no phone, no internet, no television, and best of all, NO TRUMP? Sigh. Lots of love and hugs, dear friend!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most welcome!! Would love to, dear friend!! Most attractive … no Drumpf!!
        On another note, were you able to catch my post on Rincón Beach Resort? It’s mostly pictures. That’s my paradise … Hurricane Maria destroyed it. 😢

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        • I will go take a look at that post in just a minute. I have not been able to read many of my friends’ posts lately, dear friend, for I am losing my sight at an alarming rate … I can tell the difference on a day-to-day basis. I can no longer see the text on my screen, so to read anything I must hold a magnifying glass in one hand and my mouse in the other. It takes me twice as long to write my posts, twice as long to answer comments, and … well, suffice it to say that I can only do so much. I have another eye appointment next week, and we are hoping that surgery will restore at least a part of my vision. Mind you, I am not whining or complaining, but merely explaining. It’s funny, because only tonight, my editor said, “Look, I know you have vision issues, but there is no excuse for all these typos!” I would kick his scrawny butt if he weren’t 500 miles away!!! I will go check out your post now … Love ‘n hugs!!! ❤

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          • Hey dear friend … hope all is well. I didn’t know about your vision problems!! From the way you write, your content, your answers … I would have never known!!
            Question, if you don’t mind … you have an editor? Wow … that’s big.
            If there’s anything I can help you with, please, know I’m here … I’m retired so there’s plenty time on my hands.
            Please, keep me posted about your medical appt. Truly … tight Puerto Rican hugs (The best kind!) Love … Horty!!
            ❤ …. Namaste!! __/l\__

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    • Apparently … though I’m unclear about the venue, whether it is to be in the form of a press conference, or what. Isn’t this the most mature behaviour, not to mention the best use of taxpayer dollars, you’ve ever seen? I am outraged and really, really wish the mainstream media would simply refuse to even acknowledge it. 🤡

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  5. Suppression of the press is the first step towards a dictatorship.Truth dies at the hands of people like Erdogan in Turkey but can just as easily do so at he hands of Trump who denigrate the press until the people have no faith in it.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. It is, in my opinion, the biggest and most definitive step on the path to an autocracy or dictatorship. And the comparison to Turkey is apt … I started making that comparison nearly two years ago, and still think that the only difference between Erdogan and Trump is that Erdogan is smarter. The most frightening part, to me, of Trump’s war on the press, is that so many are buying into it, believing his rhetoric, and hanging on every word that comes from Fox or Breitbart. Sure, they are in for a rude awakening, but when? After it’s too late? When we are observing curfews and men with boots patrolling our streets? After those who protest too loudly have been taken away in trains to who-knows-where? Sigh … sorry … stepping down now … ‘)
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Just” bad taste? Please, this is an attempt to control the press, and set the stage for declaring himself absolute dictator, probably for life. I don’t know who all has tried this method in the past, but as in the case of Adolphe Hitler, look where it got Germany, the Jews, gypsies, disabled people, and oh so many others. And all because Hitler understood, “Own the media, own the world.” Being a Nazi sympathizer, and student, Trump knows exactly what he is trying to do. And he learned his lessons well. Especially if he has convinced people it is ” just bad taste!”

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        • My apologies, the background does make a difference. But the word “just” is one of those buttons that scares me to death. Where Trump is involved, nothing is ever just “just…”

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            • Yes, this I did not know until Jill informed me, and I may have misread you. However, your words could have come from millions of Americans, and my words were and are directed at anyone who thinks that Trump is “just” a blip on the storyline of history. This man is capable of turning history in a new and disastrous direction, and that is what I want everyone to stay alert for. He may appear to be a benign cancer, but it is more apparent everyday that he is malignant, and rapidly spreading. Nothing personal, choosing, and again I apologize for making it look like it was.

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              • No worries. And I would never call The Trumpet “benign” 😉 But I can understand that you get the feeling everyone is only laughing at the man without seeing the danger. I guess sometimes laughing is a way to deal with anger, frustration and worry. Looking at the history of the 20th century, it is especially painful that the nation that was leading the forces getting rid of the Nazis now is lead by someone getting dangerously close to them in spirit. Europe has been quite used to looking at the US for guidance, but apparently we must stop now and remember our own values.

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                • I wish you all the luck with that,though I might suggest the American forces in WWII had a lot of help from Canadia and Australian soldiers too, they just didn’t talk about that, they wanted the glory all to themselves. Speaking about Canada, we are like America’s little brother here. The US has ruled our economy and culture for a long long time..We were fortunate to protect our way-of-life from them, because suddenly many Americans are flocking to Canada to get away from DT. U just listened to one family who came North last year being interviewed on the radio who said if they had known how different our society was from that of the USA, they would have come north ages ago. Their children can actually go to school without being picked on for their colour or religion.
                  I may not agree with the way Canada is run, I mean I do not agree with it, but I don’t know anywhere else on Eath I would rather be, except Antarctica.

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                  • Of course it was not the US alone freeing the world of Hitler – they could not have done it on their own anyway. But in Germany the US have been the “beacon of freedom” ever since the end of WW II, may this be correct or not, but that was the sentiment. Waking up from that idea took some time for most people (starting with the Vietnam War) but last November has been quite a wake up call!
                    My parents spent two years in Canada in the 60ies by the way – so our family is a big fan! 🙂 Can imagine these are not easy times with a neighbour like this … At least we have a whole ocean between us! (Not as powerful as a border as it used to be of course, but at leas psychologically Mr. Trump is not on our doorstep. That does help.)

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                    • For me personally, I am nowhere near that border anymore. The only American influence we have up in the Far Far North of Alberta are the hunters who fly up here, shoot our animals, and fly their carcasses out, which would certainly not be the case if I had any say in it. But the government does not care that much about the lives of non-humans, and they make a pretty penny on hunting licences for non-Canadians, so greed wins out once again. If I had my way, the wild animals would have specially adapted automatic weapons to at least give them a fighting chance.And for those hunters who still killed animals, they would have to eat the meat before they could take it anywhere, and turn the skins and hides over to Aboriginal people who could at least use the furs, etc to make clothing for their children. No trophies would ever be allowed to be taken out of the country.

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      • Don’t worry, I know enough about history to see how dangerous he is. I am not taking this lightly, but I am seeing the ridiculous side of it too. And as much as I understand the comparison between Trump and Adolf Hitler, there are some significant differences, mainly that the US is an old, proven democracy, even if not without its faults, whereas the Germany of the later 20s and 30s was trying this concept for the first time, with all the difficulties of a post-war society and economy.

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        • Yes, there are differences in the where, even in the how, Hitler had a strong charismatic personality, Trump is portraying is meek meddlesome insane personality, but that is a sham. Meek, meddlesome people do not inspire followers the way that Trump inspires his followers. He appeals to sheep, and sheep are the ones that provide fodder for whatever battles he sees the need to fight. He appeals to white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers, and they are his foot soldiers. He appeals to the rich, because they think he is one of them, they are his major supporters. And they are also the ones who hold the majority of power in a democracy, or should I say plutocracy, for that is what America is quickly becoming. Hitler overestimated his power, we are underestimating Trump’s power. It is my duty to humanity to try to make sure he isn’t underestimated to the point of being able to declare himself absolute ruler, because I am quite positive that is his goal. And then… There is no more democracy…
          And despite most peoples’ beliefs, democracy is not all it is cracked up to be. I was born a Canadian, and there is a line in our national anthem that say “We stand on guard for thee.” I for one have never stood on guard for Canada, or any nation. But I will stand on guard for all living beings, and humans are living beings, wherever they are or whatever they call themselves…

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    • Quite so, but then … isn’t everything he does beneath the dignity of the office? He has turned it all into a joke, a three-ring circus, and this is just the latest clownish addition. Stay tuned tomorrow, kiddies, for there will be more fun and games from Uncle Donnie! 🤡 🎈 🤡 🎈 🤡

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