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Trump’s New Press Tactics Follow The Old-School Authoritarian Model

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Trump’s New Press Tactics Follow The Old-School Authoritarian Model

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Trump, Authoritarian

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Donald Trump is fulfilling the role of an authoritarian demagogue so thoroughly that if this whole disaster were a movie, it would be criticized for being formulaic and cliched. His frequently expressed hostility toward the media comes right out of a well-worn copy of the Dictator’s Playbook, and he has repeatedly revealed himself to be an enemy of a free press.

The latest example comes as Trump and his team attempt to alienate the media by shutting down the White House press room, which has been in operation since the Nixon years. Trump’s war on the press is also attracting candidates to his administration who are helping PEOTUS devise ways to make journalists’ jobs harder, including by mandating that those who cover the White House undergo biannual drug tests.

Esquire was the first to report that Trump, on the heels of his first press conference in six months—which he used to denigrate the media for occasionally doing their jobs—is mulling over the prospect of evicting the press corps from the West Wing. According to the outlet, the move would relocate the press corps to digs in the nearby White House Conference Center or the Old Executive Office Building.

Trump’s press secretary Scott Spicer suggested the move is being considered because the last media briefing showed a uniquely high interest in covering Trump. “When we had that press conference the other day, we had thousands of requests, and we capped it at four hundred,” said Spicer, who is definitely pretending not to know that PEOTUS’s refusal to answer press questions for an unprecedented amount of time had exactly the effect the team intended, in terms of demand for access. “A question is: Is a room that has forty-nine seats adequate?…Is there an opportunity to potentially allow more members of the media to be part of this? That’s something we’re discussing.”

Trump’s chief-of-staff Reince Preibus repeated this talking point during a tour of Sunday morning news shows. But another senior official didn’t bother pretending that the relocation is anything other than what it appears: a transparent attempt to block press access so Trump can avoid explaining, defining, defending, or detailing the what, when, where and how of his administration’s plans.

“They are the opposition party,” a senior official reportedly told Esquire. “I want ’em out of the building. We are taking back the press room.”

Effectively shutting out and shutting down the news media would allow Trump’s voice, in concert with propagandistic platforms such as Breitbart, the Enquirer, Fox News and other right-wing echo chambers, to ring out the loudest.

Attempts to appeal to Trump’s anti-free speech stance inspired at least one potential hire to propose a tactic intended to turn journalism into an endurance test. Buzzfeed News reports that David Martosko, the U.S. political editor of U.K.’s Mail Online, applied for a job as press secretary for Trump’s incoming administration.

“Journalists who are at the White House more than one day per week should be subject to drug screenings,” Martosko wrote, according to New York Post Page Six columnist Richard Johnson, who broke the story. “Refusal to comply should exclude them from credentialing entirely.”

Martosko wasn’t hired, and the job went to Spicer instead. Both Martosko and the Daily Mail declined to comment to Buzzfeed when contacted.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

IMAGE: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives an address at an event organised by the Greater Charleston Business Alliance and the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce in North Charleston, South Carolina, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill

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20 Comments

    1. Daniel Jones January 17, 2017

      Exactly. That is what we will get from the administration until the clamor grows too high for His Disgrace to whitewash.

      This kind of hogwash is what got the press room in there in the first place.

      Reply
    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 17, 2017

      Thanks, Putin Jr. Y’all come back now.

      Reply
      1. dbtheonly January 18, 2017

        Does he think that the buzz word pictures, and yes, I feel silly just writing that, will have any influence on us? Are they arguments to convince? Are they persuasive? Does it show his erudition?

        Or are they nothing more than typical Trumpian fuzz words? Leaving us to put whatever interpretation on them we choose?

        Again I wish I’d taken more psych classes; but masochism certainly seems in point.

        Reply
    3. I Am Helpy January 18, 2017

      Sorry you’re mad about your treason, but … actually who cares what you think.

      Reply
  1. helen.moyer January 18, 2017

    Go through following report to determine how a single parent was able to generate $89,844/year in her extra time on her PC without selling anything>>>
    -> START

    Reply
  2. Dan S January 18, 2017

    The pen is mightier than the sword. If Trump declares war against the free press the gloves come off. If he refuses to accommodate the press believe me he’ll rue the day he banned them. The media can literally make or break a candidate for better or worse. It would behoove them to play nice so if he has a specific agenda he can clarify that with them. Going thru Twitter is not the right way to establish policy in 140 characters or less

    Reply
    1. latebloomingrandma January 18, 2017

      Let’s hope so. Journalists are going to have to reach down and acquire a lot more guts. Maye this “administration” will prove to be real revival of honest to goodness real investigative journalism.

      Reply
    2. johninPCFL January 20, 2017

      “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel” – Mark Twain.

      Reply
  3. itsfun January 18, 2017

    The President-elect has something like 60 million followers on his internet sites. Talk about transparency, everyone gets to know exactly how the new President feels about the issues, not the way the liberal press wants you to feel about his policies. This way the liberal press cannot use half of a statement made by him. The liberal press cannot shut him up and only report what they can to try and destroy this man. The new President will make the liberal press useless by exposing their lies and half truths. Don’t we all want to know how are the President sees issues and how he wants to deal with them?

    Reply
    1. The lucky one January 18, 2017

      Katy Perry and Justin Bieber each have over 90 million. maybe they should be prez and vice prez. BTW Obama has over 80 million.

      Reply
      1. itsfun January 18, 2017

        Good for them.

        Reply
    2. latebloomingrandma January 18, 2017

      There are none so blind as those who cannot see.

      Reply
      1. itsfun January 18, 2017

        See what??? He puts his ideas and thoughts out there for you and the rest of the world. What is wrong with that?

        Reply
        1. latebloomingrandma January 18, 2017

          I’m not surprised that you don’t understand what my statement actually means.

          Reply
          1. itsfun January 18, 2017

            And I am not surprised you dodged my question.

            Reply
    3. InGen12 January 18, 2017

      Get real. Trump doesn’t want any press in too close proximity because he’s going to have alot to hide.

      Reply
      1. itsfun January 18, 2017

        You would rather read about Chris Matthews getting a thrill running down his leg when he sees Obama. President-elect Trump is bringing his ideas forward for the whole world to see, he is not hiding anywhere. If you want the liberal press to tell you how Trump feels about issues, its okay with me, you will just remain a low information voter then.

        Reply
  4. bojimbo26 January 18, 2017

    Funnily enough , if Donny only invites the press that he trusts to his `briefings` people will then know it is just fake news .

    Reply

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