Monday, July 3, 2017

Twitter, Twitter, Little Tweet

“Fake news!” “Failing New York Times!” “Low rated!” “I’m the President and you’re not!” “She’s bleeding out of her whatever!!”

All of this came out of the President’s Twitter feed. All of it. Instead of using his Twitter account as a bully pulpit to push his agenda, he uses it to bash, threaten, and abuse people who have pissed him off. And how did they piss him off?

They said something that he didn’t like. The media reported on things like the connection between his campaign and Russia. Connections between his son-in-law and Deutsche Bank (which has been linked to Russian oligarchs), connections between himself and Russian oligarchs and money laundering, connections between his cabinet picks and Russians… Come to think of it… there are an awful lot of connections between Mr. Trump and the Russians, don’t you think?

Now, I’m not saying that there is a connection between Mr. Trump and the Russians fixing the election, to make sure that he was elected. Oh no, that would be bad, and subject to too much conjecture.

But it seems to me, that should anyone in the media, anyone in the news business makes that kind of connection, becomes the story, by way of becoming the subject of one of the President’s really offensive tweets.

And the media should not be the story.

The story should be about healthcare reform – Repeal and non-Replace (because let’s face it, Congress has theirs screw the rest of us). The story should be about the Russia investigation that is happening, under the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, as far as he is willing to discuss things, for now. The story should be about foreign affairs or the economy or the state of the nation or how we as a nation should be coming together AS a nation.

But instead, the news cycle spends two to three days discussing how the President has attacked them in some of the most vile ways possible, up to and including calling for violence. And if you don’t think that that the WWE video where the CNN logo was superimposed over Vince McMahon’s face wasn’t a call to violence against the press, then you are blind. And it’s not the first time he’s blatantly called for violence against the media.

The President has said that the media is “an enemy of the people”. Wait. What? Jim Wright, over at Stonekettle Station, said:
We all have that one relative, that one person we know, who just won’t shut up about some pet bugaboo. Everything, every conversation, always, every time, leads back to that one thing.
That’s Trump and the press.
It was bad enough when he was merely a candidate, but this is the President of the United States whining endlessly about the press and that should disturb every citizen.
The press was given enumerated protection in the First Amendment for a reason. The press is the only private enterprise given specific rights and freedoms in the Constitution. The press is the only private enterprise specifically protected from government interference.
This was done because the press is supposed to be the watchdog of liberty.”

So what does he mean by that? Well, let’s take a look at the First Amendment, which says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. The press, our news sources cannot be stopped from reporting what is happening in our government. Threatening the media, calling for violence against reporters, turning his supporters against reporters by calling them out by name, as he did during the campaign. And it still happens. From a Newsweek article:
On the internet, the vitriol from Trump fans continued. In April, the journalist Julia Ioffe received a barrage of anti-Semitic abuse and death threats after she wrote a critical profile of Trump’s wife Melania for GQ magazine. In October, a Trump supporter sent Newsweek ’s Kurt Eichenwald (who has been vocal about his epilepsy) a video that triggers seizures. Other Newsweek staffers have received anti-Semitic slurs on Twitter and memes about hanging journalists from trees.”

And we seem to be OK with this. He points to these misdeeds, in his tweets, making Twitter tons of money with his millions of followers, which if it had been someone with fewer followers, would have been banned from the service for inciting violence.

You have to wonder what kind of person feels it necessary to abuse others, like this. How unhappy must this person be in his or her own life, to be this bitter, this thin-skinned? At this point, it no longer matters. At this point, we need to hunker down and support the idea of a free press. We need to quit making the media the story. We need to follow the important stories – health care, Russian interference in our government and elections, the President’s violations of the Emolument’s Clause… the important issues.

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