It’s no mystery to even the casual observer of American politics that Donald Trump has little love for Freedom of the Press as he repeats his claim of “Fake News” like a broken record any time the news media reports about him unfavorably . . . even on foreign soil.
Days after kicking off his recent European trip with a “Good morning to Fake News media” during a bilateral meeting with NATO leadership, Trump broke out another classic on the eve of his #SurrenderSummit with his BFF Vladimir Putin—a man who murders journalists for sport. Using words that certainly pleased his host, Trump leveled a Soviet-styled claim that the American news media is “the enemy of the American people,” a claim he originally broke out over a year ago.
On the eve of a summit with Putin, critics of whom in the journalistic community often end up jailed or murdered, President Trump calls journalists the enemy of the people. https://t.co/zuUoZwIqKd
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 15, 2018
Trump's use — again –of the phrase enemy of the people in attacking a free press, particularly en route to a meeting with Putin, head of a country where the phrase was presumably coined, is stunningly alarming.
— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) July 15, 2018
Trump calls U.S. reporters the “enemy of the people” as he prepares to meet with the leader of a country where journalists are murdered https://t.co/Cfg02jWBDs
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) July 15, 2018
Trump calls the press the enemy of the people — echoing Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and Chavez with that depiction of the press — while speaking about meeting with a despot who literally murders journalists who criticize his regime. This is another sick low point in US history. https://t.co/yyGVCJa64C
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 15, 2018
A few months following Trump’s original “enemy” tweet last year, Trump’s chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, reinstated an old rule that paved the way for a $3.9 billion TV merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group—Trump’s favorite news media company outside of FOX News—and Tribune Media. This rule change paved the way for Sinclair to own enough local stations to control over 70 percent of US households.
A few months after that rule change, the FCC eliminated another rule requiring TV stations to operate local studios within their licensed markets, thus opening the door for local news to be nationally broadcast from places like New York City and Washington, D.C.
Trump’s hatred of the free press aside, the FCC was creating the perfect environment for a new state-run media. And while originally dismissing this threat to the First Amendment, Pai is now questioning the wisdom of paving the way for Sinclair’s near monopoly. In a statement released yesterday, he said that he now has “serious concerns” about the merger.
In an effort to get the deal approved, Sinclair had proposed selling off some of its TV stations in exchange for the FCC’s endorsement. However, this was little more than a shell game because Sinclair would still control those stations. So, in a “why didn’t he see this before” explanation, Pai rejected the merger.
“The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law.”
Pai’s decision could be the death-knell of the merger, but with Sinclair’s openly pro-Trump bias along with Trump’s desire to silence his critics in the media, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that there’s still a “Dumb and Dumber” level of a chance that it could happen.
Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.
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