In case it wasn’t clear enough from Republican President Donald Trump’s outrageous trainwreck of a press conference yesterday, when he spent twenty minutes disparaging the “fake news” media, or from the Orwellian “media accountability survey” that he blasted out to his fans later that night, Trump has declared open war on our independent press.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party similarly condemned the free press with the slur of Lügenpresse (lying press). They told their supporters that the media was controlled by Jews and by Communists. The Washington Post notes that:
Until today, the word has an anti-Semitic connotation, and it implies hatred not only against journalists but against everyone who opposes the “will of the people.” That abstract concept emerged during World War II when Hitler sought to propagate the idea that Germans were a “master race” superior to all others, especially Jews and Slavic people.
“Fake news” has more of a ring to it but is clearly inspired by its Nazi predecessor. The rhetoric of Trump and his fans, if you break it down, relies on the same concept of superiority.
Declaring the media the “enemy of the American people” is an abhorrent slap in the face to the values our nation was founded on and our First Amendment rights to a free press. It is just the next step that Trump has taken on the dark road towards fascist totalitarianism. This is the kind of pronouncement that leads to violence.
In 140 characters President Trump just discredited what millions of soldiers have/had fought for…for over 200 years…
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) February 17, 2017
While the media played an important role in getting him elected in the first place, they have been an extremely important part of the resistance that we’re going to need to get out the truth and keep the millions of people who are horrified at Trump’s behavior engaged and aware.
The war for information in America is only just beginning.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.