John McCain

What's Missing from John McCain's Criticism of Trump's Media Attacks

McCain and Jeff Flake are right to slam the president's juvenile rhetoric, but questionably blame Trump for global trends while neglecting the press crackdowns of his predecessor.

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Sen. Jeff Flake on the Senate floor today ||| C-SPAN
C-SPAN

Today is a particularly punchy round in the ongoing heavyweight bout that is the Trump presidency vs. the media, a conflict that is arguably a defining divide in our modern politics. In one corner, as always, is President Donald Trump, who has promised to unleash his long-awaited "Fake News Awards" tonight. In the other corner, as per usual, is just about every mainstream news outlet and journalism-related organization (sample headline from Newsweek: "President Trump Is Leading an Assault on Democracy in the U.S. and Around the World, Report Claims"), plus all the late-night comedians, a scattering of #NeverTrumpers, half of political Twitter, and the two Republican senators from Arizona.

The senior senator from the Copper State, John McCain, took time away from his ongoing health battles to fire a shot across Trump's bow in today's Washington Post, under the journalist-pleasing headline "Mr. President, stop attacking the press." The piece, which has already drawn much praise, hinges on a dubious bit of connective tissue between Trump's juvenile anti-media taunts in America, and the various ongoing crackdowns on journalists abroad:

While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets. This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit. The phrase "fake news" — granted legitimacy by an American president — is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens. [The Committee to Protect Journalists] documented 21 cases in 2017 in which journalists were jailed on "fake news" charges.

First off, the phrase "Fake News" initially gained currency among the very journalism practitioners Trump is whacking with it today. Second, let's click on that hyperlink above and reflect on the opening paragraph:

For the second consecutive year, a record number of journalists–262–were imprisoned, and President Donald Trump's anti-journalist rhetoric provides cover for the trumped-up accusations and legal charges. That is according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The figure, as of Dec. 1, was up from 259 in the previous 12-month period.

That's right—the (already way too high) number of journalists imprisoned worldwide increased during President Trump's first year in office by, um, three; none of whom were in the United States. And this is primarily Trump's fault. (No seriously, the CPJ, in honor of the Fake News Awards, announced its own "Press Oppressors awards," and the prize for "Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom" went to, you guessed it, the U.S. president.)

This is what happens when you are triggered more by words than by policy. Barack Obama, unlike his successor (so far at least!) actually prosecuted, threatened with jail time, and spied on American journalists and whistleblowers. As Reporters Without Borders pointed out last year,

[I]t bears repeating that [Trump's] predecessor left behind a flimsy legacy for press freedom and access to information. Journalists continue to be arrested for covering various protests around the country, with several currently facing criminal charges. The Obama administration waged a war on whistleblowers who leaked information about its activities, leading to the prosecution of more leakers than any previous administration combined….And over the past few years, there has been an increase in prolonged searches of journalists and their devices at the US border, with some foreign journalists being prevented from any travel to the US after they covered sensitive topics such as Colombia's FARC or Kurdistan.

McCain and other Trump critics are on firmer ground when they complain that the president has shown little inclination to criticize other countries' media crackdowns, that he has eschewed the tradition of insisting on press conferences even in the most autocratic of foreign countries, and that his "enemy of the people" rhetoric is (in the words of Jeff Flake on the Senate floor today) "shameful" and "repulsive." I might also add that the president's fondness for lying his face off, calling for various journalists to be fired, and threatening to "open up" libel laws is an embarrassment to his supporters, to his political party, and to the whole country.

So what to do about that stuff, aside from calling it out in real time (hopefully with a sense of proportion about what the guy can actually do)? McCain's suggestions include:

[E]ncouraging our partners and allies to review their laws and practices, including the abuse of defamation and anti-terrorism laws, to better protect press freedom and ensure that they do not unduly shrink the space for free speech. We can authorize U.S. foreign assistance to support independent media outlets and programs that create greater media pluralism. We can do more to foster conditions in which freedom of expression and information can thrive, including working to change increasingly political attitudes toward journalism. And we can condemn violence against journalists, denounce censorship and support dissidents and activists as they seek to speak the truth.

Bolding mine to indicate a wince. There is a long and not always pretty history of the U.S. government funding journalists and media outlets abroad; such a relationship does not strike me as a generator of independence. (It's also very easy for authoritarians to crack down on journalists on or perceived to be on Washington's payroll.) I am all in favor of condemning violence against journalists and providing moral support to dissidents and activists attempting to speak freely; it's the material support (beyond stuff like opening up a good embassy library) that can easily become counter-productive.

On the other hand, I'm heartened by McCain's serial flagging in his Op-Ed of the way anti-terrorism laws and national security considerations can be employed to restrict speech, since that's not a connection many hawks usually make, especially about America's own laws.

National security is the place where America's rhetorical commitment to transparency and constitutional liberty goes to die. The Supreme Court's very justification for government secrecy, 1953's United States v. Reynolds, was based on the Air Force searching for a noble-sounding excuse to cover up a fatal airplane crash that we later learned had nothing whatsoever to do with top-secret anything. If it were up to McCain, tech companies wouldn't allow individuals to encrypt their communications and devices, foreign visitors would have more of their social media history combed through by federal agents, and social media companies would be forced to follow the same disclosure rules as print and broadcast when it comes to disclosing the purchases of political ads—all in the name of national security. He also wishes government could punish Americans for burning their country's flag.

McCain may have some inspiring words today about the free press "hold[ing] repressive governments accountable," but when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the U.S. government's own Pentagon Papers 45 years ago McCain's first reaction was to volunteer to testify against Ellsberg at trial. (The senator's reaction to Edward Snowden? That he's "no hero," and obviously working for Vladimir Putin.) He has also talked about the existence of "good leaks," such as the cache of damning photos from Abu Ghraib, so his record isn't one-sided on the issue, but the point remains that arguably the most urgent place for the United States to walk the walk when it comes to the nexus of secrecy and liberty is in its own domestic laws and enforcement.

Having senators from his own party pulverize the president over his cartoonish anti-media campaign is a welcome sight. Hopefully the Arizona duo can follow up that gesture by focusing on areas where existing Washington power has already been wielded against journalists and their sources in the course of them contributing to a free and vibrant press.

Today's related Reason video:

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  1. Look on the bright side Arizona: a year from now you’ll have not one but two new senators, and it would be almost impossible to do worse than what you have now!

    1. I think you would be very surprised. But here’s hoping we do better.

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  2. If you’re not hating Trump, and loving the media, then you’re. Not doing that!

  3. “I don’t question your integrity, I deny its existence!”

  4. The media is dead. Trump killed it to the detriment of us all.

    It’s 100% the media’s fault. Now he and future politicians have carte blanche to get away with anything.

    The media’s total corruption over the last 20 years has opened the door to unaccountability the likes of which we have never seen and will make today’s daily circus look like a tame yarn comparatively.

    This will only really negatively affect the non-scumbag, liberty loving, mind-your-own-business, non-asshole crowd the most. The sheep are a hopeless band of ignorant jerks who are as much to blame as the actors in the media and congress.

    1. The media killed the media before most people ever heard the name Trump. Fake news in the service of an agenda goes back to at least Walter Duranty, if not even earlier than that.

      As another commenter here so accurately said recently, for a period of time the media were able to successfully get away with pretending that they had credibility, but they didn’t actually have any.

      1. Yellow journalism pre-dated Walter Duranty.

        1. Agreed to both of you gentlemen. I’m just saying that trump finally made the charade obvious to the world and made these idiots so crazy that now no politicians will even have to make the attempt to satisfy the press. They will all call every media outlet fake news from here forward and we really will have a tough time calling out the bullshitter at that point.

          1. He didn’t kill the media, he just issued the autopsy results.

    2. Media is more free than it’s ever been. The ability to get multiple viewpoints on any topic is available with the flick of your finger on your phone.

      For decades there has only been one newspaper in my town, and NPR is the only radio station you can get consistently if you drive for any great distance.

      These are the best days for media we’ve ever had. Trump calling the old school propagandists ‘fake news’ is just a step in the evolution away from the bad old days.

      1. Correct. The problem is that there are no dependable, reputable, unbiased news sources out there.

        The profession is tainted and few people who work have time to wade through all of the information to discern what is consistent.

        1. The problem is that there are no dependable, reputable, unbiased news sources out there.

          There never will be, any more than there will ever be consistently good businesses or politicians.

          What there can be are competing journalists and a whole ecosystem of reviewers just wanted to tear down any journalists they don’t agree with.

          Which is exactly what we have…

          The belief that there were ever unbiased news sources was a short term thing, and I’m glad it’s gone.

      2. Media is more free than it’s ever been. The ability to get multiple viewpoints on any topic is available with the flick of your finger on your phone.

        But most people don’t bother to flick that finger. They believe whatever is shoved in front of their face, which is a lockstep leftist statist corporatist propaganda machine.

        1. You can’t blame people, because they are what they are.

          The only way to get people to change in a way that’s acceptable to a Libertarian is to give them something they want.

          There are tiny bits of that. Rand Paul destroying the federal register in a variety of ways went viral at my son’s high school.

          Sadly, that’s the only one I can think of… But I believe it is the best way forward at this point.

          Make libertarianism fun again!

  5. Maverick McCain needs to do one last thing for his country: die.

    1. And I’d have no regret that he only had one life to give for his country.

      1. Honestly, if it were possible for him to have more than one life to give, wouldn’t you like (as in pay to see) for that to happen?

        1. ?on McCain? No fucking thanks.

    2. Agreed. Oh, wait. Too soon?

  6. Today is a particularly punchy round in the ongoing heavyweight bout that is the Trump presidency vs. the media…

    I think there’s an animated GIF or two for this.

  7. Trump’s juvenile anti-media taunts in America

    Pointing out the medias faults is not juvenile and very muchly needed but with their hatred of Trump they will not reflect on themselves since they know they are fake and their purpose has become the promotion of one idealogy and not to report the news accurately anymore

    1. I am not a big fan of trumps policies but I have started to like him simply for the bitch-slap he lays on these juvenile scumbags in the media on a daily basis.

      1. It pays to have the right enemies

    2. The wsy Trump does this is juvenile and t he press as a whole responds with such unprofessionalism and incompetence that they prove Trump has a point.

      1. If Trump was acting “grown up” like every other politician in history, the media would just laugh at him behind his back and carry on. His being juvenile is the only thing that has actually gotten their attention. Of course, they’re doubling down on their act but I think Americans will eventually see through it.

  8. “In which Matt Welch makes a feeble and failing attempt to un-cuck hisself”

    1. Needz moar TDS!

  9. Trump’s attack on the press is more insidious – it is to neutralize the press through Pravda

    1. style propaganda.

      Like how he repeats the lie that Obama “gave” Iran $150 billion. His idiot base thinks they got that in US tax money instead of having the sanctions against them end for giving up their nuclear program.

      1. There was the pallet of cash that was given to them covertly via an overnight flight to Iran.
        That did happen stupid.

        Trump is no liberty loving free market guy but he is already leaps and bounds better then anything Obama offered in 8 years based on the tax cut, cutting back regulations, and getting out of the climate accord alone.

        The problem is that all politicians are big government guys who love the FED manipulations of markets and the war-machine. They all love debt and spending. Sheep like you think there is a concrete difference between politicians of different parties. They need people like you.
        Trump simply represents a chance to slow down the march to socialism a little bit. He won’t change your mind however.

        1. Yes, the US had owed Iran $400 million for decades:

          In 1979, Iran’s then-monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid $400 million to the United States government to purchase military parts. But that year’s revolution toppled the shah, and the military parts were never delivered.

          To regain its funds, Iran filed a claim against the United States in 1981 in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which adjudicates disputes between the two nations. The body, located at the Hague, was established amid negotiations to end the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis, in which pro-revolution students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

          The tribunal’s first priority was to address claims from private individuals, including 4,700 now-resolved U.S. claims filed against the Government of Iran. Over the past several years, the tribunal has focused more of its attention on claims the two governments have made against each other, including this dispute over the $400 million weapons deal.

          WaPost

          Obama cut taxes, was a free trade proponent (unlike Trump) and had the support of our top capitalists (unlike the Dotard).

          You are a “useful idiot”.

          1. OT (kind of):

            Do you believe that the Orange one weighs just 239?

            1. I believe he is six foot tall (not 6’3″ as he now claims) because he is seen standing a bit shorter than others that height.

              So he is lying there too.

              He COULD be 239 at six foot I suppose although I doubt it.

              1. name a free market capitalist that supported Obama?

                1. name a free market capitalist that supported Obama?

                  I am sure by “free market” capitalist you have some Ayn Rand definition that would exclude any real people in the real world in favor of some kook on an Objectivist web site.

                  Look, I like Ayn Rand but she lived in the make-believe world of fiction.

                  She also (like me) hated conservatives as much as statists.

              2. In some photos, both his wife (probably because of the high heels) and his daughter by Marla Maples appear to be taller than him. In fact, the daughter, with the heels, towers over him in some shots.

                1. If he wanted to get re-elected without even trying, he should just have his daughter and wife on camera 24/7. it’s that simple to get the American people to like you.

                2. There are plenty of photos of Trump and Obama (who claims to be 6’1″) standing together.

                  I give Obama 6 even and Trump is no taller.

              3. How shocking would that be, a guy in his 70’s who slouches? Maybe he’s 6’2″ when he stands up straight…

          2. Who coined the term useful idiot there Copernicus?

          3. “Top Capitalists” support a regulator because their businesses don’t benefit from more competition, rather they prefer less competition.
            “Top Capitalists” fucking hate Trump because all the deregulation he’s doing is benefiting consumers at their expense by enabling more startup competition.

            Wall Street vastly preferred Hillary for the same reasons.

            It takes genuine effort to be as stupid as you.

            1. You are gullible, Microassgressor. Trump has not deregulated shit.

              Tell me what a mid-sized manufacturer has had deregulated. Nothing. In fact by opposing free trade Trump has hurt us.

              I know, you can fish with mercury laced bait now. BFD.

                1. Your link says Trump is creating PAGES of regs in the Federal Register at a SLOWER RATE.

                  BFD.

                  I asked for ONE regulation he has cut for a mid-sized manufacturer. One.

                  Only one.

          4. That $400 million belonged to the Shah of Iran, you stupid simple fuck, not the fucking inbred Ayatollah and his pedophile ilk. Say what you will about the Shah being a puppet and installed, but he wasn’t leading the world in hanging 14 year old girls and countless other humanitarian nightmares like the assholes that Obama bent over backwards to appease and was swindled by. Btw asshole, did you ever pay up your bet?

          5. “Yes, the US had owed Iran $400 million for decades”

            Which was being held onto to pay various claims against Iran advancing through the legal system.

            There’s a reason Obama “structured” the payment in order to avoid having to provide advanced notice of it: He wanted to do it unilaterally and irreversibly, before anybody had the chance to stop him.

    2. BACKWARDS !! With over 90% negative coverage it is the media attacking Trump, self defense is not considered an attack

  10. McCain has no integrity; see Keating Five. Flake just needs to go away. If the MSM doesn’t like the criticism, maybe it should stop pretending to be nonpartisan.

    1. McCain is a top notch POS.

      1. As George Gobel used to say “Don’t mock the afflicted”. The man has brain cancer and is not responsible for what he says or does. That this goes unnoticed in the senate is a comment on the senate, not Mr. McCain.

        1. He was afflicted with stupidity for 30 years before the brain cancer so I’m guessing he can be mocked for what he said and did during that period.

          1. Maybe…maybe his brain was the cancer and the cancer they detected is actually a brain.

            Like, whoa, dude.

            Whoa.

        2. I routinely mocked him before he got the brain cancer, and I’ll continue until he stops doing damage, either by resigning or dying.

          The brain cancer just underscores how irresponsible he is, clinging to power even as he becomes ever more mentally compromised.

  11. McCain is a darling of media – except when he actually ran for President in 2008 against The Anointed One. Then he was beaten to a pulp by his darling media.

    McCain, being an idiot, has and will never learn from this.

    1. McCain was treated well in 2008 until he chose a joke of a VP as running mate – Bible Spice or the Klondike Kardashian (both great nicks).

      1. (both great nicks)

        [citation needed], Blue Mikey.

        1. palin thinks it was palin that hurt McCain’s campaign.

          perhaps it was the fact that a supposedly small government republican campaigned for mortgage payment forgiveness for deadbeats who borrowed too much.

          This guy sucks Rachel maddow’s dick.

          1. That is not a pleasant image.

            1. To be in the stupid club, you have to do some scary sh*t.

              1. Hey! The first rule of stupid club is you don’t talk about stupid club.

    2. McCain was treated well in 2008 until he chose a joke of a VP as running mate…

      BS. And if you can prove multiple citations needed, because as I recall the press was against him directly after he won the nomination and prior to VP selection. Additionaly, historically, voters never used VP as reason to vote or not to vote for P.

      So for the first time in US history, a presidential election was decided based upon the VP chosen. Occam’s razor; what’s more likely:

      A: politics changed a great deal in less than a generation (which is very, very rare historically) and a normally, historically proven, non-impactful decision, was a major cause of specific election results….
      OR
      B: An irrelevant variable point was used to prove something not fully understood by people who use that add justification for doing what they were already going to do.

      Though if you wish, keep claiming McCain lost due to Palin.

      Just keep in mind your belief won’t change reality and that 40+ prior elections in which no one voted for a given Pres based upon the VP in large enough continent to change an election that somehow, magically, at the exact time in history when you most wanted it, for one time only, people behaved completely different from their past behavior, in such a direct and specific way that the end result was exactly what you wanted the entire time.

      I’d call it confirmation bias, but honestly at this point delusion is more accurate.

  12. “the Trump presidency vs. the media, a conflict that is arguably a defining divide in our modern politics. “

    i think there’s something to that, but i don’t know if its really “the trump presidency” so much as the people who voted for him.

    “the media” (aka ‘prestige media’: CNN, NYT, WaPo, MSNBC, ABC/CBS/NBC major networks) strangely spend a lot of time attacking people who….. *don’t trust ‘the media’*. which is a weird dynamic: is the idea that calling them all crazy and stupid is supposed to convince them that these orgs have the best interests of the public in mind?

    If you watch Fox news for more than 20 mins, you’ll hear half their talking heads regularly refer to “the mainstream media”… as tho *they’re not actually part of it*, despite being the cable-news channel with the largest audience.

    Its really beyond ‘trump’. Its “them” vs. everyone who disagrees.

    I noticed this dude from the Atlantic the other day tweeting about how silly republicans don’t trust news media. basically, “isn’t it crazy and sad people suspect Real News media of being biased?”

    Meanwhile his own twitter feed is nothing but left-partisan obsession and citations of the economic insights from *Jacobin*. Yes, how *silly of people* to suspect the media are slightly biased.

    1. an example someone else noted the other day…

      a story in the Atlantic said this:

      But labor experts and economists are skeptical, characterizing this framing as more a marketing ploy than anything else. “With the labor market tight, most employers have been raising pay, especially now that states covering one-fifth of the U.S. workforce are phasing in $15 minimum wages,” said Christine Owens, the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, in a statement.

      this sort of head-faking is legion in the press these days.

      you’d think “Christine Owens” is a ‘labor expert and economist’ wouldn’t you? silly you. No, she’s the head of a union-lobbying organization, and former AFL-CIO and SEIU flunky.

      This sort of shit happens constantly, in everything. And its intentional. And the same people who type this drek up are the same ones who tweet tut-tutting remarks about the lack of “confidence in media”.

      1. I’ve told you before that credentialism kills.

        1. have no idea what you’re referring to, and don’t understand your point here.

          the reference to “labor experts and economists” suggests an attempt to summarize a consensus view; then she throws in quotes from a fucking UNION LOBBYIST. which is the opposite of any ‘consensus’ opinion: its someone whose job is to represent the interests of a very narrow group.

          its inherently dishonest, misleading reporting.

          1. Essentially, I am agreeing with you.

            1. Put another way, Thornton Melon was right: Vonnegut you don’t know shit about Vonnegut.

              1. i don’t know what that means either, but its nice that you agree.

      2. Not much grinds my gears more than socialism-supporting fake news.

        If you’re well read on economics you can spot it pretty quickly.

        It makes everything else they advocate suspect. It proves how far they’re willing to go to distort the facts so they can insert their wishful thinking. The growing skepticism of media advocacy is a tremendously positive development. Thanks Donald!

        1. Mr. Well-read-on-economics, what would you consider to be the dominant, most mainstream theory in economics, if you had to give it a name?

          1. You mean the sort of economics practiced by, say Krugman?
            “Paul Krugman: Markets will “never recover” from Trump’s election”
            https://www.econjobrumors.
            com/topic/paul-krugman-markets-
            will-never-recover-from-trmups-election
            I’d call it right up your alley; not even close to “wrong”.

            1. Wasn’t talking to you. You’re not well-read.

      3. What are you confused about? It seems pretty clear to me who’s speaking. Isn’t this your problem?

        1. What’s unclear is how she began speaking for all economists everywhere, while taking credit for everything herself.

          But, hey: progressives never said they weren’t going to be the cause of everything good in the world. Because minimum wage. Woohoo.

        2. “”What are you confused about?””

          the fact you are asking this question makes you the confused, illiterate one.

  13. Many years ago, the White House press knew how sick Kennedy was, how drugged up he was, what a sex fiend he was, what a crook his father was, yet they perpetuated this myth of Camelot – was that not fake news? And before that they ran much the same cover for FDR, was that not fake news also? And I’ll bet little Georgie Washington never chopped down that cherry tree, neither.

    It’s always been the media’s job to tell stories, manufacture the truth, it’s just that now with the internet everybody and their brother has the ability to get their story out there and it’s no longer just a handful of media big shots deciding what’s important for you to know and what’s none of your damn business. Fake news is nothing new, it’s the exposure of fake news as fake that the powers-that-be haven’t figured out how to handle yet.

    1. Movies like The Post and Spotlight are attempts to shore-up the sanctity of TPTB’s rags.

      1. Movies like The Post

        And people eat that sanctimonious horses–t up for some reason.

        1. Although I am a movie buff with a 6-7 movies a month habit, I will not be going to see The Post.

          Did see Spotlight and it underwhelmed. Of course, I will admit bias because I do not subscribe to the notion that a 15 year old altar boy’s life is ruined because father touched his pee-pee.

          1. I have never heard of the latter film; that shows you how uninformed about (or, more accurately, uninterested in) most films I am today.

          2. Are you against whistleblowing or just for pointless wars?

            I think the real answer is most depressing of all. (((Hollywood, you know)))

  14. Seems to me that whomever the current temporary resident of the White House is, they mostly serve as a distraction to the continued looting and corruption of Congress and the bureaucrats as they grow Leviathan larger and larger. It’s all a con game assisted by a left wing press.

  15. Libertarians on this board think the press is their enemy because it dares to cwiticize poor wittle Twump. You people are utterly pathetic. Thanks for all the help defending freedom guys. Your cynical nihilism combined with Republican leg-humping is truly a recipe for liberty.

    1. “Libertarians on this board think the press is their enemy because it dares to cwiticize poor wittle Twump.”

      Genuinely stupid or making up a strawman?
      Isn’t it a shame that losers like Tony, after, what 14 months, still can’t come to grips with the fact that entirely too many people were smarter than they were and didn’t buy the hags lies?

    2. If expecting a valid news report to cite two or more reliable, named, verifiable sources is pathetic, I hereby trade in my deplorable t-shirt for the pathetic one.
      Anything reported without valid citation is editorial opinion, not news; just like this post.
      The truest case for right(er) wing liberty is your continued existence. If we were what you claim we are, everyone would be saying “why hasn’t Tony posted anything lately?”. And the squirrels would reply, “there never was a Tony”.

      1. Where were you for the entire existence of FOX News? Jesus man.

    3. The media has the real recipe for freedom!

      1. Are you referring to the entire media, or just the parts that report facts in lieu of massaging Trump’s nutsack?

        1. I’m referring to the media that fights against the Drumpf for our freedom!

          It’s really too bad about the election and all, though.

          But that’s on Russia and Facebook!

          1. But Russia doesn’t own Facebook! It owns Livejournal!

        2. Are you referring to the entire media

          No, just big, corporate media.

    4. They Lying Press has been my enemy all my life
      I always noticed the lies, but it did take me a while to realize they are my enemy

    5. Libertarians on this board think the press is their enemy because it dares to cwiticize poor wittle Twump.

      No, we libertarians think the US corporate media are our enemy because they are little more than propaganda organs of the Washington elite.

      Your cynical nihilism combined with Republican leg-humping is truly a recipe for liberty.

      Well, even if that was what we are doing, it would still be a better recipe for liberty than socialism, progressivism, or supporting Democrats. And I speak from first hand experience of all three.

    6. But the press (like academia), by-and-large actually are enemies of Trump and Republicans (press donations in the last election cycle went something like 96% to Clinton). In the past, more polite Republicans like Romney and GWB were willing to maintain the the pretense of press impartiality. Trump, on the other hand, treats the press like ‘Democratic operatives with bylines’ (as Glenn Reynolds puts it) that they are. (Just as Democrats have long treated Fox News as political opponents — which they are).

      I think Trump’s strategy is probably more politically astute than just standing there and taking it. I don’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him. I particularly can’t stand his stances on immigration and free trade. But his attacks on the press really don’t bother me (so long as they remain criticisms rather than legal attempts to use the power of government against the press).

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  17. While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets.

    Because violence and criticism are the same thing in McCain’s mind.

    This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit. The phrase “fake news” ? granted legitimacy by an American president ? is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens.

    Bullshit — the “fake news” term was coined by the MSM to attack news outlets favorable to Trump. Also not really believable that autocrats need a phrase to do the things he lists.

  18. and that his “enemy of the people” rhetoric is (in the words of Jeff Flake on the Senate floor today) “shameful” and “repulsive.”

    Notice the word he doesn’t use to describe it: false.

    The MSM is the enemy of the people. If you’re opposed to the Progressive Theocracy, they’re your enemy too.

  19. ” There is a long and not always pretty history of the U.S. government funding journalists and media outlets abroad; such a relationship does not strike me as a generator of independence.”

    It’s only interference in elections when Russians do it.

    I’m fine with the US and Russia tweeting in each other’s countries. Outside news orgs have less skin in the game for domestic policy. Less reason to lie.

  20. I’ve known the media was mostly bullshit most of my life on account of my father being a libertarian leaning skeptical person… What’s always amazed me is how most people can’t even see it, or just completely buy into the bullshit.

    Some things are purely perspective/opinion, but other things are facts. If one reads two opposing points of view (CNN/FOX let us say), and looks at the actual facts of the matter, one can generally see how the leftist MSM (which is most of it) completely leaves out facts that support (for lack of a better term) “non leftist” points of view. ALL THE TIME. Then, because that isn’t enough, they often manufacture false consensus that does support left wing views. They intentionally manufacture opinion, not present the facts in their entirety. That is NOT news.

    Now they’re into full on demonization, name calling, screaming raaacist, etc for anything that doesn’t conform to the dogma. Anyone who can’t see how incredibly one sided 95% of the top media organizations are is literally retarded. But apparently nearly half the country buys in.

    As with everything else he does Trump has not been elegant in the way he has gone about it, BUT his pointing out the incredible bias in the media may be one of the most important legacies of his presidency. People like us who seek truth and knowledge outside the norm already knew this stuff, but it apparently opened up a lot of normies eyes, and that’s a very good thing.

  21. For what it’s worth, if you check out Trump’s “fake news” awards.. Indeed, every story referenced was a major story, and every story referenced was fake.

    He’s criticizing the media, but it really is the media destroying their own credibility, in their desperation to make Trump look bad.

  22. McCain and Jeff Flake are right to slam the president’s juvenile rhetoric

    Yeah: what’s missing is that they aren’t slamming the press’s political biases and propagandistic techniques. You can find Soviet-era official communist propaganda broadcasts on YouTube; go listen to them. It is fascinating how the US media have become similar in recent decades not just in form and methods, but also in their message: everybody in the West who isn’t a communist or socialist is an exploiter of the workers, a racist, a bigot, a Nazi sympathizer. And even after the Soviet system collapsed, the people producing this propaganda would insist that they were telling the truth.

  23. my roomate’s step-sister makes $81 /hr on the internet . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her pay was $19489 just working on the internet for a few hours. you could check here

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  24. What’s missing from Welch’s criticism – freedom of the press does neither mean that the press is untouchable nor is allowed any info it wants. By definition, those things are not a free press. A free press can be ripped to shreds by anyone, yet still report almost anything what it wants (within legal parameters duh). Also a free press does not mean it is not a bias press, and it should be held to account when it stumbles.

  25. I’m making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbor told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. This is what I do

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