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Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press

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Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press

I see numerous pundits, including some on this site, declaring that President Trump is attacking the Freedom of the Press. Various arguments are proffered, generally referring to the claim that CNN, the “Failing New York Times,” and others are “Fake News.” Somehow this is an assault on the right to free speech granted by the founders to newspapers and their modern equivalent, the electronic media.

Give me a break! Hyperventilation like this serves no useful purpose. As Scott Adams notes in “Win Bigly,” Donald Trump is a master persuader. He uses a number of techniques, including hyperbole, to get attention and steer the discussion. One good example is “Build the Wall!”

When Trump talks about the “Wall,” the Left hears “a 30-foot concrete barrier from sea to shining sea.” That was never his intention. He fully recognized that there are places where a “wall” is not practical or needed. In those areas, other forms of barrier or monitoring are sufficient. To deter “wetbacks” from crossing the Rio Grande River, all he has to do is make sure that the channel stays dredged to eight or ten feet for a width of twenty or thirty feet. There won’t be any place for a person on foot to cross. Simple and cheap. Remember the Wollman ice skating rink in Central Park.

Trump’s objective has never been a sea to shining sea concrete wall. But his rhetorical flourishes in that direction fixated his opponents on border security, which has been his intention all along. He doesn’t resort to nerdy arguments that no one will hear. Instead, he talks about crime, victims, and diseases that are a feature of neglected security. His adversaries find themselves arguing about fact-check Pinocchios while keeping the public focused where he wants it. In short, they are tame house cats batting at a shiny object on a string while the President gets things done.

So what has President Trump actually said about freedom of the press? “We want total freedom of the Press. That’s more important to me than anyone would believe.” That certainly doesn’t sound like an assault on the press. And when a search is done for actions against freedom of the press… crickets. Yet many perpetuate the myth that “Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the free press.”

The New York Times claims that Trump’s comments are “damaging American democracy.” But one must ask why the Times, Washington Post, and CNN have published so many stories based on “unnamed sources” that then have to be retracted because they were false. CNN’s Jim Acosta is a particularly biased reporter with little regard for the truth. President Trump has pointed him out on multiple occasions for his false reporting. But he has never taken any action to get Acosta fired. In fact, there are no occasions where the President has pushed for any corporate or legal action against any reporter or news outlet.

The President has suggested that libel laws could be changed.

“One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we’re certainly leading. I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”

Notice carefully that Trump did not then, and has not to date, offered any legislation on this subject. No less a figure than Justice Clarence Thomas has opined that this change would be overdue, since the current standard of “actual malice” toward a public official is “almost impossible” to meet. Thomas’ opinion notes that the original common law of libel has been perverted to a form that gives considerable license to intentional false statements by the press. It even limits remedies for private individuals who would have only had to demonstrate “a false written publication that subjected him to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.” If this legal standard were to apply as it did until 1964, then Donald Trump would have had dozens of opportunities to sue various news outlets.

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Of course, if the standard were changed back to the original meaning where libels against public figures were more serious than against private persons, Donald Trump would lose much of his freedom to tweet or call out the press as “the enemy of the people.” He would be on the receiving end of the lawsuits. Sauce for the goose…

So one must ask what the President is doing when he points out Jim Acosta and CNN as “Fake News.” Is he attacking freedom of the press at all? I propose that he is not. He is acting as a persuader.

Americans have gradually become accustomed to the fact that certain news outlets lean one way or another. Often they wish for a simple newscast, such as I discovered on One America News while traveling. (I can’t get it at home.) Donald Trump has accelerated our awareness of this bias. Even as a “sophisticated” consumer of news, I was less aware of the radical slant presented by the legacy media: CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, and a few others. I had found them offensive and moved to Fox News, which slants a bit in the opposite direction. This made me unaware of just how far Left those legacy outlets had gone.

The “Fake News Media” is only that subset of the complete media galaxy that repeatedly publishes poorly sourced and often unverified slanders against the President and conservatives. They have uncritically given voice to proven liars such as Jussie Smollett, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe. And rather than featuring positive stories – the economy, rising wages, etc. – they have been over 90% harshly negative, even to the point of admitting that they are “the opposition.”

Donald Trump has not assaulted freedom of the press. All that hyperventilation by those he attacks simply demonstrates that they are full of hot air. And as this drumbeat continues, we hear the President on Twitter.

The persuasion continues. Once again, the President points out that lies by certain outlets are bad for us. The truth of this proposition is so simple that almost no one can miss it. Our very system of government depends on people making decisions based in reality, not falsehoods. That is what America hears. The subliminal message is, “Don’t trust CNN, NYT, etc.” And the more that unsourced and unvetted stories have to be retracted and corrected, the more people believe Donald Trump and disbelieve the Fake News Media.

All of the other statements, such as “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

are mostly noise, simply designed to make us think about how awful the Fake News Media is without sounding like repetitious talking points. The key truth is, they are bad for the country. And in the face of a drumbeat of same-sounding apocalyptic pronouncements about the “evils” of Donald Trump, America is starting to tune out. How else do we explain an approval rating that started at 36% and has now hit 49%, without ever seeing a sustained decline in the two years of his presidency?

Donald Trump truly loves the First Amendment. He loves press freedom. And he loves having CNN, NBC, NYT et. al. as foils. No, he doesn’t love their reporting, but the cavalcade of lies in the legacy media gives him an enormous opportunity to show his opponents to be without substantive ideas of their own. His own accomplishments show through as a light amid the darkness.

As Justice Story said in Dexter v. Spear, 7 F. Cas. 624 (No. 3,867) (CC RI 1825), “The liberty of speech and the liberty of the press do not authorize malicious and injurious defamation.”

 


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Big League Politics editor Patrick Howley speaks out against Fox News following Judge Pirro removal

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Big League Politics editor Patrick Howley speaks out against Fox News following Judge Pirro removal

When Judge Jeanine Pirro questioned whether or not hijabs worn by Congresswomen was antithetical to the Constitution because it represented sharia law (which is definitely antithetical to the Constitution), the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded Fox News remove the host and her show.

Fox News complied.

Conservatives across the nation are speaking out against the move and Fox News itself. We expressed our opinions about Fox News the other day, noting they’re not the place for conservatives to be finding their news. Now, conservative news source One America News brought on Big League Politics editor-in-chief Patrick Howley to give his perspectives on the firing and the future of Fox News.

To sum it up, Howley said “the only way to fight back against Fox News is to tune them out.” Considering the direction they’ve been taking recently, this is clearly sound advice. OAN is a great alternative.

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BlazeTV: Pro-Trump echo chamber and home of faux conservatives

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BlazeTV Pro-Trump echo chamber and home of faux conservatives

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how faux conservative Trumpists were a direct result of the faux conservative media.

Choosing the wide gate of compromise over the narrow gate of conviction, clickservatives in the faux conservative media have succeeded in spreading the lie that Trumpservatism equals conservatism while using conservative values as a commodity to be bartered for a seat at Trump’s table.

In the piece I mentioned above, I showed how the formerly conservative voices of Mark Levin and Glenn Beck were using their new BlazeTV partnership as a pro-Trump echo chamber and how they were using this fact as a marketing tool to find new subscribers.

Proof of the depths BlazeTV is apparently willing to go with its sycophancy was evident in a recent episode of the Glenn Beck Show when he participated in a discussion with Pat and Stu on the decline of manhood and declared that Donald Trump is the last male role model left in America.

While many so-called conservatives dismissed Beck’s statement as an isolated incident and called me out for “taking him out of context,” a recent interview with Trump’s defacto press secretary, Sean Hannity, showed Beck’s heart in the matter.

“If the Republicans don’t win this next election, I think we are officially at the end of the country as we know it. We may not survive even if we win, but we definitely don’t if the Republicans lose with Donald Trump.”

Fun fact: Beck once criticized Hannity for supporting “unprincipled” Trump.

While #notDemocrat fearmongering is nothing new for the GOP establishment — they play that card every two years — Beck’s fearmongering was solely for the purpose of supporting Trump and the GOP. Using Beck’s rationale, America might cease to exist under Trump, but it definitely ceases to exist under a Democrat — as if there’s a difference between the two.

It looks like Levin’s and Beck’s Trumpism is official company policy at BlazeTV, at least that’s the impression I came away with after yesterday’s episode of the Steve Deace Show.

In the opening portion of his show, Deace and his crew (Aaron and Todd) were making the case that Democrats were the party of abortion and used their position to endorse Trump’s and the GOP’s use of the late-term abortion issue in the upcoming election. But they went further.

They argued that Trump is a “long-term advocate” of ending late-term abortion — Deace gave his personal guarantee that this is true — and said pro-life conservatives should support Trump because #notDemocrat despite his doublemindedness on abortion and his continued funding of Planned Parenthood. And they stated that anyone who refused to “cheer” Trump’s use of the abortion issue in the upcoming election as they were going to do were most likely members of a “Never Trump cult” and/or a hypocrite.

I shared this on my Facebook account:

If BlazeTV chooses to sell its soul to Trump for a seat at his table, that’s up to them. But I’m saying “adios” to their faux conservatism.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


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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If you’re relying on Fox News to bring you ‘conservative’ news, try harder

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If youre relying on Fox News to bring you conservative news try harder

Mainstream media will do as mainstream media has always done. The creep to the left that started in the 70s has been inching the narratives to a progressive lean with notable lurches during the Reagan and Bush 43 years. But it was with the last two presidents that any facade of neutrality was wiped away. They loved President Obama and hate President Trump.

Fox News has been the only major network to not embrace leftist tenets, but here’s the thing. They’re not conservative. Sure, they have some conservatives as commentators and a few conservative show hosts, but generally they’ve been moderate for years. We saw this in the early days of the 2016 GOP nomination race when first Jeb Bush, then Marco Rubio were their anointed picks. Sean Hannity was the only one who jumped on the Trump Train early. Eventually, the channel eased itself on board, but not without keeping an anchor firmly attached to neoconservatism and barely right-of-center moderation.

Most viewers don’t realize this. They watch Fox & Friends, The Five, and other shows and they get the feeling that this is what conservative media looks like. But it’s not. This is what pro-Trump moderates look like (again, with a handful of exceptions).

They made an odd move yesterday by bringing on former DNC Chair Donna Brazile. In an effort to stay “fair and balanced,” it’s a good move for the network to want to expand their repertoire of leftists, but picking someone who lied on behalf of the DNC and Hillary Clinton to somehow be appropriate in delivering “truth” is the part that should make conservatives and leftists scratch their heads. Wasn’t she supposed to promote her book and then fade off into obscurity in a lobbyist role or something?

Today brought us another indicator of the left-of-center mentality Fox holds. They brought former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the person arguably most responsible for holding back the President from demanding the border wall while Republicans held control of the House, Senate, and White House, onto the board of their new Fox News parent company.

But it’s not necessarily the people they hire that reveals their ideology. It’s the absence of topics. One of the biggest reasons we push so hard to raise money for this site is because we know the need for conservatism and Christianity as being necessary driving forces in American life. We do not bow down to party, popularity, or ideological notions that seem conservative or Christian but are not.

Fox News, on the other hand, plays for Republicans rather than conservatives. We can see this in the topics they promote but also in the topics they avoid. Like all the other news channels, they are quick to talk about any types of terrorism or murder as long as the victims aren’t Judeo-Christian. They push the buzzing stories based on what’s trending on Twitter but they don’t dig deeper to the core of the matter. There are occasional moments of lucidity, especially with some of the conservative hosts, but for the most part they’re just a pro-Trump version of the other networks.

What America needs from the media is an inflexible dedication to what works. Some will argue that it’s not media’s job to guide the process, but commentary is specifically designed to do just that. President Trump has been guided in this way. We saw him considering is immigration stance “softening” in 2016 with Sean Hannity right there beside him. But it was the conservatives in his base who were telling him to stop the nonsense, and thankfully it worked. He didn’t soften and as a result he won the election.

Fox News is only conservative in relations to their competitors. They’re unwillingness to be bold in their philosophies prevents them from being the real counter to CNN, MSNBC, and others who have no qualms being hardcore leftists. Fox News isn’t the answer.

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