Thursday, April 6, 2017

L.A. Times: Trump's War on Journalism

On  Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times’ published Part IV, ”Trump’s War on Journalism,” of their series addressing our Presidents most troubling traits. The Times compared Trump’s first few weeks in office to a “trainwreck.”

The Times points out that our institutions are under attack: Our courts; The electoral process; The intelligence community; The media, and our federal agencies.

“[Trump] sees himself as not merely a force for change, but as a wrecking ball.”

On Thursday, Part V in their series, the Times looks into Trump as "Conspiracy Theorist in Chief."

Here are the opening paragraphs of “Trump’s War on Journalism.”:

"In Donald Trump’s America, the mere act of reporting news unflattering to the president is held up as evidence of bias. Journalists are slandered as 'enemies of the people.'

"Facts that contradict Trump’s version of reality are dismissed as 'fake news.' Reporters and their news organizations are 'pathetic,' 'very dishonest,' 'failing,' and even, in one memorable turn of phrase, 'a pile of garbage.'

"Trump is, of course, not the first American president to whine about the news media or try to influence coverage. President George W. Bush saw the press as elitist and “slick.” President Obama’s press operation tried to exclude Fox News reporters from interviews, blocked many officials from talking to journalists and, most troubling, prosecuted more national security whistle-blowers and leakers than all previous presidents combined.

"But Trump being Trump, he has escalated the traditionally adversarial relationship in demagogic and potentially dangerous ways.

"Most presidents, irritated as they may have been, have continued to acknowledge — at least publicly — that an independent press plays an essential role in American democracy. They’ve recognized that while no news organization is perfect, honest reporting holds leaders and institutions accountable; that’s why a free press was singled out for protection in the 1st Amendment and why outspoken, unfettered journalism is considered a hallmark of a free country.

"Trump doesn’t seem to buy it. On his very first day in office, he called journalists 'among the most dishonest human beings on earth.'"

"The news media remain an essential component in the democratic process and should not be undermined by the president."