Americans are getting a shocking warning about President Donald Trump’s attempts to destroy the free press.
Earlier this month, the Trump campaign debuted a brand news online TV series called “Real News.” The short newscasts are produced by Trump supporters and are filled with pro-Trump propaganda and false claims.
Now one leading media scholar is saying Trump’s “Real News” campaign is a massive attack on the First Amendment. Trump is copying tactics used by totalitarian regimes in order to stifle consent.
“It smacks of state-run news, and we’re not supposed to have state-run news in the United States of America,” said Tom Rosenstiel, a U.S. researcher and director of the American Press Institute. ” … The adoption of phrases like ‘fake news’ and ‘real news’ is alarming, especially coming from the president. This is Orwellian, and it’s happening right now, right here.”
According to Rosenstiel, this is not the first time a politician has tried to reach his audience directly – however, he says Trump is taking it to a dangerous new level (via Vox):
“Well, the notion that a candidate or a political figure would put out press releases or generate information on their own is nothing new. What’s different here is this is the president of the United States doing it.
“In an earlier era, the practical measure of whether this was meaningful or not would be how many people would watch this little clip, but today that’s a useless metric because this content will be shared and retweeted and perpetually redistributed. So we’ve no idea how large the audience will ultimately be.
“… Politicians have always tried to go over the heads of the press to speak directly to the American public. Roosevelt did it by being good at radio. Kennedy did it by being good at television. Reagan did it by mastering the photo op and the staged event.
“What makes Trump different is that he’s systematically trying to delegitimize the news as an institution because they won’t cover him the way he wants to be covered. That’s what’s different here. He’s actively provoking people to distrust the news, to distrust information that doesn’t come from him. This is what demagogues and despots do.”