[Note: This post was originally featured on PlanetSave]
At the time of our nation’s inception, the Founders supported an open, free exchange of ideas as a necessary ingredient for the survival of a representative democracy. As Benjamin Franklin proclaimed, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” Freedoms of speech and press in the First Amendment, according to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black are essential to the U.S. constitution. “The Framers knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.” Censorship is used to stop truths or ideas from emerging, to prevent the ability to draw attention to powerful people or governments, or to undermine ideology. President-elect Donald Trump understands the power of a free and independent press, according to Robert Reich, and does what all tyrants do: he tries to “squelch it.”
Reich, the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has outlined seven techniques that Donald Trump has used to undermine the power of the press. Reich calls these strategies “worrying.”
1. Berate the media: Trump “summoned” two-dozen TV news anchors and executives and berated them for their election coverage.
According to Vanity Fair, sources told the New York Post that Trump, in a dressing-down, characterized the assembled media execs as a “fucking firing squad,” with the president-elect attacking CNN in particular. “Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’ ” the source said. Reich related how another person who attended the meeting said Trump “truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”
2. Blacklist critical media: Trump’s Facebook page read that the Washington Post was “phony and dishonest” and later revoked their press credentials.
Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said, “Donald Trump’s decision to revoke The Washington Post’s press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished.” CNN Money has the Trump Blacklist of media outlets, which includes Huffington Post, Politico, and Buzzfeed.