PLEASE THINK: A Free Press is….?


A quiz, who said – “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”, the correct answer is 1) Donald Trump, 2) Richard Nixon, 3) Adolph Hitler, 4) Joe Stalin, or 4) Mao. The answer is, none of the above. Thomas Jefferson said it in 1807 following his election victory and after he and James Madison set up their own paper to slander John Adams. 

Recently President tweeted that:


Once out, many people decided that this was an indicator, one of many since the election, that Trump was a dictator or dictator in waiting. I was not shocked by the statement since I read it and then dismissed it as rhetoric. He used the term fake news, which has been a standard and called out 5 media outlets as” The enemy of the American People!” While I believe, a better phase could have been found to make the point that much of the main stream media has become beyond adversarial, the news media set itself up for this.

I have always believed it necessary to read and understand both sides of any issues so I was very put off when I opened the Washington Post online Sunday to see a glaring photo of Trump imposed over pictures of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. The story that followed read like a college paper with the theme “Write about the term ‘Enemy of the People’ and compare and contrast with recent uses of the term.”  The report and others like it, instead of highlighting Trump as Hitler are highlighting the editors of these outlets as Joseph Goebbels.  

While the Nazis coined the term “Big Lie” in typical double speak they were the most effective practitioners of the form. Today most politicians practice some form of this while campaigning or in trying to convince us to support some program, However, it is the job of a free press to help the people understand what is being said and were the truth is found. Today however the press has become the more practiced and polished users of this form of propaganda. 

Since before the election the news media staked out a position and a candidate. In the beginning, Trump was left alone since the mass media did not consider him a viable candidate. On the other side, Bernie Sanders was treated like a comic side show. Both came under media attention when they began to be a serious challenge to the parties chosen candidates. Once it became apparent the two were serious and a threat to the established order the propaganda machines went to work. On the left Sanders was treated as an old man who was fun to watch but not a president. The DNC, we now know, even had plans to manipulate the primaries. Trump on the other hand was a different problem. Not of the political main stream and becoming very popular with the middle, which is where elections are won, something had to be done that was fast and spectacular. Along comes Russia. Almost immediately following the disclosure of the email hack Russia is identified as the perpetrator. This then became the big lie, a truth that could be used to deflect fact and attention away from Hillary Clinton exposing national security secrets by using an unclassified server. When asked about missing emails and her indiscretions the response was look at Russia they are interfering with the election.

All great lies begin with some truth. Russia probably did hack the DNC, as well as a lot of other hacks perpetrated by them. From there the news kept repeating that Russia was doing this to manipulate the election in favor of Trump. When Trump won, it was not by the choice of the American people it was Russia. Reports began to circulate about Trump’s campaign in contact with Russian intelligence agents. Russian elites where beside themselves with joy, etc. Even though there is no evidence of this the reports continue. I will grant most cover themselves by saying while this is believed to be true they admit there is no evidence. Trump said that most of the Mexican illegal immigrants are rapist and murderers, a big stretch and untrue, but it became Trump is a racist. In all this Trump became Hitler, Stalin or Mao. I will grant he is no Winston Churchill but to compare the elected head of a democratic country to mass murderers go beyond any form of journalistic integrity. It is the perpetuation of the Big Lie, said loud enough and long enough it becomes truth.

We are a free and democratic society and the press has the right to say what it wishes short of calling for lawlessness and armed rebellion. It cannot be proved that much of the violence of the anti-Trump demonstrations is instigated by the press they are not helping have a calm and rational discussion on the issues.

I call on the press to look at what they print or say and maybe to rehire some of the editors they let go in the past. The press is below Trump in the polls, once Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America. Before you say or print anything I ask the media to PLEASETHINK, What Would Walter Do.

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