Since the time of George Washington, Presidents have been unhappy with the media. Every President has felt that they have been treated unfairly, and every President has responded in negative ways.In this sense, Trump is no different than his predecessors.
But Trump, with the help of others (notably Steve Bannon) has taken his disregard of the press to new levels. Even though many members of the media are completely supporting Trump, he has declared the media (clearly only those that don’t support him) the “enemy of the American people”. He threatens to pull their licenses if they say bad things about him. He has also repeatedly called for revisions of the Nation’s libel laws so as to prevent members of the media from speaking out.
His short term goal is intimidation. By using the strongest language and the strongest threats, he hopes to cower as many members of the press as possible into self-censorship. But that plan alone isn’t working. In fact, multiple media outlets are vying to earn Trump’s “Fake News” awards.
But in a more insidious way, Trump is actually waging war on the US Constitution. His real goal is the elimination of a free press, replacing it with one that is loyal to him. We know that he’s fond of the Second Amendment, but he is clearly not so fond of the First Amendment. His criticisms of the press are thinly veiled dog whistles to signal his loyal Stormtroopers to take actions – legal and illegal – to silence his critics.
With Nixon it was an “enemies list”. But with Trump, is more akin to a “hit list”. Journalists have been paying for their reporting with their lives in other countries for years – especially in places like Russia and Mexico. Soon it will be occurring in the United States.
When Trump wages war on the First Amendment, he wages war on the key to the freedoms we all hold dear. His way is the path to totalitarianism. His attempts to suppress the rights of a free press must be stopped. All members of both political parties must speak up. Now.