By Olivia Pierson
[First published on Incite 22/11/18]
President Trump has a highly amusing habit of triggering members of the press to the point of hysterical backlash. While running as a presidential candidate he coined the term “fake news”, which I think will be in modern parlance forever.
The point at which the mainstream media wets its diapers is always when the President touts that “fake news is the enemy of the people.”
This statement triggers the press so profoundly, from Left to Right, that they just cannot get the insult straight in their heads. Triggering has this confusing effect on human thought.
The president never says “the press is the enemy of the people,” or “news is the enemy of the people.” He says precisely “fake news is the enemy of the people.” Do Americans want news based on reality or propaganda based on fiction? That is the difference between news and fake news.
After the recent debacle in the White House press conference concerning Jim Acosta refusing to pipe down, instead clutching the microphone in order to assail the president with a third question (each reporter is meant to ask only one, two at most), the president revoked Acosta’s press pass into the White House. Then the whole thing ended up in court.
Acosta was vindicated and CNN put out statements about the evils of the president’s “attack” on First Amendment rights of journalists and reporters. If this is what people seriously consider to be an attack these days, then they have become softer than slugs.
During the last presidency of Barack Obama, the press and he were all loved up in a slobbering love affair because he was the first anti-Western values president, who happened to also be black, and identity politics just made them glow with virtue-signalling obsequiousness.
By way of contrast, President Trump – alpha, white, male, thrice married and a billionaire to boot, exudes the classic image of the American Dream achiever. At the same time, he constantly expresses disapproval of the hostile tactics and lies of the mainstream media, which sends its pedlars spinning straight back to their computers to indulge in ever greater screeds of hate for a president who calls them out over the false yarns that they then try to pass off as news. Fake news.
The Trump presidency has been more accessible to the press than any other presidency in American history. The reason the mainstream media thinks that the president is harder on them is because they cannot help but be psychologically triggered by him – since the president doesn’t give them what they see as their rightful due: automatic respect despite their lack of veracity.
A little history may offer some context about how reasonable President Trump has in fact acted toward a viciously hostile mainstream media.
John Adams, America’s 2nd president, signed the Sedition Act into law in 1798. He had imprisoned and fined 25 men, mostly Republican writers, editors and publishers.
“One Republican was convicted of sedition for publishing a pro-Jefferson campaign pamphlet that accused President Adams of appointing corrupt judges and ambassadors. Two men were found guilty of raising a “liberty pole” and putting a sign on it that said, “downfall to the Tyrants of America.” Another was arrested, but never tried, for circulating a petition to repeal the Alien and Sedition Acts themselves. A drunk was fined $150 for insulting President Adams.”
Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, felt the sting of excoriating hostility from the press, a thing which he often complained to his wife about. Mary would respond by accusing him of being “thin-skinned.” But as the North and South went to war, press communications became a casualty especially for newspapers who were in sympathy with a pro-peace and pro-slavery agenda:
“Eventually the military and the government began punishing editorial opposition to the war itself. Authorities banned pro-peace newspapers from the U.S. mails, shut down newspaper offices and confiscated printing materials. They intimidated, and sometimes imprisoned, reporters, editors and publishers who sympathized with the South or objected to an armed struggle to restore the Union. For the first year of the war, Lincoln left no trail of documents attesting to any personal conviction that dissenting newspapers ought to be muzzled. But neither did he say anything to control or contradict such efforts when they were undertaken, however haphazardly, by his Cabinet officers or military commanders. Lincoln did not initiate press suppression, and remained ambivalent about its execution, but seldom intervened to prevent it… Soon all of Washington’s telegraph wires, the standard medium for transmitting news from city to city, fell under military control—as ‘The New York Times’ founder Henry Raymond had learned to his consternation after Bull Run. In the aftermath of the stinging Federal defeat there, a season of official crackdowns on individual newspapers commenced. The hostility toward pro-peace, pro-slavery journals made the angry crowd that menaced the Herald offices after Sumter seem like a band of carolers by comparison.”
Woodrow Wilson, America’s 28th president, at the outbreak of WWI, considered that in the interests of ‘public safety’ government should have full censorship rights over the press. By executive order, he created an agency – the Committee for Public Information – specifically to win and keep the loyalty of young American men to enlist and fight in the war.
“Immediately upon entering the war, the Wilson administration brought the most modern management techniques to bear in the area of government-press relations. Wilson started one of the earliest uses of government propaganda. He waged a campaign of intimidation and outright suppression against those ethnic and socialist papers that continued to oppose the war. Taken together, these wartime measures added up to an unprecedented assault on press freedom.”
Harry Truman, America’s 33rd president, famously wrote a diatribe against the American press covering the White House, comparing them to prostitutes:
“Presidents and the members of their Cabinets and their staff members have been slandered and misrepresented since George Washington… When the press is friendly to an administration the opposition has been lied about and treated to the excrescence [sic] of paid prostitutes of the mind.”
Barrack Obama, America’s 44th president, became an expert at press persecution, only, as with most vices Obama engaged in (like his cigarette habit), he took pains to make sure it was done on the sly:
“In 2009…the Obama White House intentionally excluded Fox News’ Chris Wallace from participating in a round of interviews pertaining to the president’s push for healthcare reform. Later that same year, the administration officials tried to block Fox reporters from interviewing “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg. The White House initially lied about this, and many in the press went along with it. It wasn’t until 2011 that the public learned the truth of the Feinberg episode. An internal email dated Oct. 22, 2009, showed the White House director of broadcast media told Treasury officials specifically, “We’d prefer if you skip Fox please.”
It only got worse from there:
“Later, in 2012, Fox was mysteriously excluded from a White House conference call pertaining to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Fox was also excluded from an all-network CIA briefing regarding the attacks.”
That, however, was nothing compared to what then took place against journalist James Rosen:
“In 2013, the Obama Justice Department labeled then-Fox News reporter James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917. And all because the reporter used a State Department contractor as a source for a story. Rosen was also labeled a “flight risk.”
The Justice Department seized the records of at least five phone lines connected to Fox News. The federal law enforcement agency even seized the phone records of Rosen’s parents. The FBI also got a warrant to search Rosen’s emails from 2010.”
The persecution of James Rosen of Fox News, James Risen of The New York Times, the Associated Press scandal, the persecution of Sharyl Attkisson over her reportage of the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal and the persecution which resulted in the imprisonment of political commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.
When it came to aggressive suppression of the press, Obama’s administration was medieval, but I never heard the likes of Jim Acosta grandstanding at the Whitehouse in a bid to champion press freedoms. In comparison to Obama, President Trump is a fluffy kitten, yet he psychologically has a hold over the press which is remarkable for its ability to trigger them into hysteria with a few mere words. It’s as if they’re all suffering from PTSD after seeing a fellow press colleague tarred, feathered and roasted over a spit.
The president is so antithetical to the mainstream media in his cultural stance on everything – tone, manner, looks, lifestyle, forthrightness, traditions, patriotism, ego etc – that they find him personally and deeply offensive. He only needs to look askance at them for a millisecond and they rattle louder than a murder of crows.
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