Friday, March 3, 2017

The Trump Administration Begins Shutting Down Press Access

Trump's White House has barred a number of media outlets for fact based reporting and this constitutes one of the most serious assaults against democracy from an American administration in modern history. This is an extension of the exclusion of certain reporters who wrote unflattering articles about Trump during the campaign.

To support their subterfuge the White House announced that they will no longer give daily on-camera press briefings. However, selected members of the press were invited to White House press secretary Sean Spicer's office for a lecture on media coverage of Trump.

This administration has barred responsible news agencies like the New York Times, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, The Hill, Politico, and BBC while granting access to xenophobic media outlets like Brietbart (formerly run by Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon). Under Trump conservative purveyors of fake news contribute to false narratives that support this administration's alternative facts.

By excluding news that challenges the government's lies this administration is free to control the narrative and misinform the people with fake news. A free press was enshrined in the first amendment to protect democracy from men like Trump.

"Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest," said Times executive editor Dean Baquet. Even fellow Republicans like former President G.W. Bush have indicated that a free press is a fundamental part of democracy .

Although most Americans understandably want Trump to succeed they are unaware that this administration's dark agenda extends well beyond dismantling environmental protections and the agencies that oversee them.

Although many Americans are reluctant to believe it, this government's action's are Orwellian. Creating false narratives, curtailing free press and dismantling agencies charged with oversight should be deeply concerning to Americans regardless of their political stripes.

On numerous occasions Trump has been called out by the press. One prominent example involves Trump's statement that he won more electoral college votes than any administration in recent history. When he was corrected by a CNN reporter he shot back that he was talking about Republicans, when it was pointed out that this too is factually inaccurate he responded that this was what he was told. The fact is that despite Republican redistricting and voter suppression, Trump lost the popular vote by an unprecedented margin of 3 million votes and he had one of the lowest levels of electoral college votes in US history.

The issue that may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back may be reporting that revealed General Michael Flynn's correspondences with the Russian regime which forced him to step down as Trump's National Security Adviser.

"Apparently this is how they [the Trump White House] retaliate when you report facts they don't like," CNN said in a statement.

Skepticism is healthy but failure to consider the facts enable a government to conceal the truth. This administration is playing a sophisticated game of distraction. Trump creates a smoke-screen to keep the public to focusing on the big issues.

This administration may be trying to create a prophylactic against their malfeasance not the least of which are the reasons why the Trump team had multiple contacts with the Russian government during the campaign. All 17 US intelligence services are unanimous in their assertion that Russia interfered with the US election. The Trump administration needs to create a bulwark against facts which reveal collusion with the Russians to win the election.

Spicer himself promised that he would not bar reporters and he has said a free press is a fundamental distinction between democracy and dictatorship.

"Selectively denying access to a previously open White House channel of information reflects an unprecedented and perilous vindictiveness that has no place in American democracy," said Daily News Editor-in-Chief Arthur Browne.

As quoted by Variety, Peter Slevin,  an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism said.

"For the president, the media is both a useful political target and one of the biggest threats to his presidency. By hammering reporters as dishonest purveyors of fake news, Trump simultaneously rallies his fans and lays the groundwork for dismissing fair-minded journalism as the work of partisan hacks. The same calculus is at work when Steve Bannon, his White House advisor, pretends the media is ’the opposition party' Many people will believe them, unfortunately, but the sun will rise every morning in newsrooms across America and reporters will do their jobs."

This administration is trying to control the narrative but the American people are not buying it. A Quinnipiac University poll showed that 52 percent of Americans trust the media to tell them the truth compared to 37 percent for Trump.

Related
Why Trump Hates Traditional Journalism and Loves Digital Media (Videos)
Trump Battles with CNN over the Existence of Reality
How Conservatives Use Fake News to Control the Narrative
Trump and the Darkness of Post-Factual Media
Fake News is Serious but so are Efforts to Combat it
Mainstream Media's Failed Climate Coverage
Mainstream Media is Distorting the Facts about Climate
Popular Media is to Blame for Inaction on Climate Change
Popular Media Panders to Conservative Politics and Legitimizes Climate Denial
The Science of Storytelling: Making Facts Matter in a Post-Factual World
Why We are Not Seeing More Action on Climate Change
Anti-Science Journalism Helped to End Progressive Climate Governance in Australia
The Slaughter of Innocents: Our Complicity in the Murder of Environmentalists
The Death of Mikhail Beketov and Environmental Journalism in Russia
The Persecution of Environmental Reporters
Environmental Advocacy Through Citizen Journalism

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