News you need to knowIn the past two weeks, President Trump has called the mainstream media “fake news” five times through his Twitter posts. These tweets regularly receive 20,000-plus retweets and hundreds of thousands of hearts. Recent outlets namechecked as fake are NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and The New York Times. This is in addition to countless cries of fake news in speeches from his presidential campaign onward.
Why this is not normalErnest Hemingway said, “Really brave men do not have to fight duels, and many cowards duel constantly to make themselves believe they are brave.” The description was of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini after an in-person encounter Hemingway had as a journalist.
Fascism is an authoritarian, nationalistic system of government that restricts the rights of people while increasing the power of corporations and the government.
A key to the rise of fascism and Mussolini in Europe was the censorship of the press. Mussolini wanted to micro-manage the public appearance of his country. He wanted to erase and silence information that would allow opposition or suspicion of him. He constantly tried to ensure that public opinion of his government was a positive consensus at all times. Differing opinions were not allowed.
The New York Times alone has garnered 119 Pulitzer Prizes in journalism since 1918, considered the highest national honor in the field of print journalism, literary achievements, and musical composition in the United States.
When President Trump dresses down the press as fake news, especially trusted outlets with universal symbols of acclaim, he is tearing down democratic discourse in an effort to build up his own administration.
As George W. Bush said on the “Today” show Monday, disparaging the press in such a way hurts us abroad as well. “It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves,” he said.
Today’s demands of positive-only opinions lead to tomorrow’s government controlled Ministry of Pop Culture.
Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer