the truth shall keep us free

Donald Trump - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Donald Trump is simply an authoritarian. This was made clear when he said that the press is the “enemy of the people.” The press, the fourth estate, the unofficial ‘branch of government’ that keeps the other three accountable, is the enemy of the people? The free press that Americans, since our bloody inception over 200 years ago, have fought, bled, and died for is the “enemy of the people”?

No, the enemy of the free press is not the people, it is lies, deceit, deception, corruption and as a result, Donald Trump. Trump is the enemy of the press, not because of any personal vendetta or bias on their part, but because he is a serial liar who, along with the rest of his administration, constantly works to obfuscate the truth.

Trump is corrupt and the press exposes that. He fired the Director of the FBI, the man responsible for investigating his ties to Russia, as said investigation began ramping up and becoming more and more public further damaging his approval rating. Trump used the excuse of a recommendation from the Deputy Attorney General for the reason behind the firing. He sent his press secretary and Vice President out to peddle that narrative. However, because he is a moronic buffoon, he soon revealed exactly what that narrative was: a lie. In an interview the day after that narrative was pushed, he said that he had already made up his mind to fire Comey and was going to do it regardless of the recommendation.

So what happened? Did Sanders and Pence lie intentionally, did they not do their job and find out what the President thought, or were they simply misled by an incompetent President? He then claimed that Comey told directly told him three times that he was not under investigation.

This statement is riddled with problems. First, there is no proof of that and several sources close to Comey have recently come forward and said that never happened. Second, while Trump himself might not technically be under investigation, his campaign certainly is and it is likely safe to assume that Trump was somewhat involved in his own damn campaign. Third, it would have been entirely inappropriate for those conversations to happen. We all remember the Republican outrage, which was partially justified, over Bill Clinton meeting Loretta Lynch on the tarmac to talk about grandchildren and golf during the email investigation.

Now, Trump, by his own admission, did exactly what the Republicans could only accuse Clinton of. During the same email investigation, Republicans accused President Obama of ‘trying to put his thumb on the scales’ when he said that he did not think Hillary Clinton had done anything wrong.

Now our current President is calling the FBI Director, asking if he is under investigation? That isn’t putting your thumb on the scale, that’s sitting on it. Then after he gives testimony about that investigation he gets fired. The Saturday Night Massacre had more subtlety about it than this.

Firing the person in charge of leading the investigation into something that could get him impeached is not the only of Trump’s authoritarian leanings, but it is certainly a culmination of them. We learned all of this through the media; it was NBC’s Lester Holt who got Trump to admit that he was going to fire him anyways. We learned of Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, the list goes on, involvement with the Russians through the press. The administration denied all of their connections before the press proved otherwise. Their importance in exposing lies cannot be overstated.

On May 12th, 2017 Donald Trump tweeted that “maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’…” How authoritarian is that? He will cancel his meetings with the press, those who relay information to the public, because they ask him tough questions and catch him in his lies. He knows that time and time again the media has caught him in his lies and that they will continue to do so. He knows that they will continue to hold him accountable, that they will continue to check his power, that they will continue to defend the people from the lies of an idiot. In a time where our government is run by incompetent, spineless, moronic, perhaps traitorous, clowns all we have to defend ourselves with from them and their lies is the press.

All the press has to defend themselves with is us. We must answer the call and support them, for the press is a blinding spotlight on the government. The Washington Post is right, DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS, we must not let that light go out.



Image: Donald Trump - Caricature by DonkeyHotey via Flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

Matt Blakely

Matt Blakely is a political consultant and strategist based in Atlanta, Georgia. He focuses on Democratic campaigns and progressive causes.