Trump has stepped up his attacks on the media in recent weeks. At a rally in Pennsylvania, he pointed out the journalists covering the event and derided them as “fake, fake, disgusting news”. The White House barred a CNN reporter from covering a public event after she asked Trump a question.
The outgoing UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, told the Guardian this week that Trump’s comments are “very close to incitement to violence”.
The rhetoric “could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” he said.
This coordinated defense of the free press in America comes in response to a call by the Boston Globe to push back hard against “the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press.”
So, you’d think that every media outlet – right, left, and everything in between – would be able to agree that a free press is vital to the health of our democracy. And most, apparently, do.
But not the far-right “Republican Times-Disgrace,” aka, “Richmond Times-Dispatch” editorial page. Believe it or not, instead of joining the hundreds of other media outlets today in pushing back against Trump’s assault on a free press, the RTD editorial page instead is busy arguing that…seriously, that “Trump is more Jefferson than Adams in dealing with media.” I mean, this is bat****-crazy stuff here. Thus, according to the RTD:
- “Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is toothless and should be of little concern to a confident, competent news media.” (note: this is totally, 100%, wildly false)
- “The president has not used the powers of his office to weaken the First Amendment.” (ditto to note #1)
- “Trump’s theme has been more reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in an 1806 letter to a Massachusetts congressman: “As for what is not true you will always find abundance in the newspapers.” A more eloquent version of ‘fake news.'” (My god…)
- “..we are concerned that a unified editorial campaign aimed at the president will do as much harm as good, by confirming his supporters’ belief — sometimes justified — that most of the news media is unfairly arrayed against the president on all matters and issues.” (Please tell me this is some sort of sick joke)
So yeah, one of the biggest newspapers in Virginia actually wrote that drivel. But hey, thanks to freedom of the press, you can tune in tomorrow – if you so choose, although why would anyone want to? – for more far-right ravings from the Republican Times-Disgrace editorial page. That is, assuming “Thomas Jefferson” – or maybe “John Adams?” – hasn’t shut them down by then. Hahaha.