You don’t have to be a journalist to be worried about America’s eroding First Amendment and “enemy of the people” demonization of the media by this unprecedented president. Attacking and scape-goating the press are on every authoritarian’s bucket list. Always have been.
Too bad “American exceptionalism” doesn’t preclude autocracy. There was a day when we could criticize, sans hypocrisy, the usual cast of right-wing strongmen: from Russia and the Philippines to banana republics and Middle East “stans.”
Now, attacking the U.S. media–with certain sell-out and alt-Reich exceptions–is an MO for governing and keeping a Trump cult-following base stoked.
We’ve seen the domestic impact of the Oval Office avatar of “fake news” on our democracy in the era of “alternative facts.” Ask Jim Acosta what it’s like to cover a race-baiting, isolationist-promoting, mainstream media-bashing, Trump rally. George Wallace never looked so polished and presidential.
It has even impacted foreign relations.
Anyone think that the ratcheting controversy over the suspicious disappearance–if not dismemberment–of Saudi Arabian-born, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is coincidental to what has been happening here at home?
You’d have to be clueless to think that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the imperiously despotic “reformer” who doesn’t suffer critics, didn’t see some signals he liked from the Trump Administration. Most notably, arms-sales money talks and dissenting media opinions walk–if they’re ambulatory. Besides, who can account for “rogue killers”?
The United States is not a macro version of Las Vegas. What happens here doesn’t stay here. The rest of the world–from the Moscow puppet master to the Saudi Prince of Darkness–take it all in. And play Trump–and America–accordingly.