On Monday of this week, Donald Trump revoked the media credentials of journalists working for the Washington Post covering his events. This follows on the heels of his blacklisting of multiple other national media outlets including Gawker, BuzzFeed, Foreign Policy, Politico, Fusion, Univision, Mother Jones, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Des Moines Register, the Daily Beast, and Huffington Post.
Trump, who describes himself as having “very strong, very thick skin“, is clearly afraid of the sort of scrutiny that a viable free press in the USA demands of anyone running for president, particularly one running on a major party ticket. It’s no surprise, of course. It’s a common characteristic of bullies. Those who bully are invariably pathetic, insecure creatures who can only succeed by squashing anyone who they perceive as a threat.
But, surprising or not, this sort of action must be answered powerfully by those in a position to do so and no individual or organization is better-positioned to answer powerfully than our national media outlets. And now is the time for them to do just that.
It’s important because Donald Trump has unleashed the most vile sort of rhetoric ever seen in modern American politics. Journalist Jared Yates Sexton recently attended a Trump rally and his tweeting during that experience revealed the seamy, un-American underbelly of our country. Vendors selling t-shirts that say “TRUMP THAT BITCH!” and “Hillary sucks but not like Monica.” Followers chanting “Hurt him! Hurt him!” as a protester is removed from the rally. It’s shocking and an embarrassment to our country.
Trump’s ascent is more than just an embarrassment. What far too many Americans fail to see is patently obvious to people in other countries. In my recent travels to Canada and Ireland, I was frequently asked how this could happen. People in other countries are terrified that Americans will put a man in control who will start World War III. And I’m hearing from others around the world, as well.
But Trump can be stopped. He MUST be stopped. And our national media groups can play a central role in that. All other media outlets should abandon their coverage of Trump’s public appearances. They should put aside their crass clamoring for ratings and step up to do what is right for America by showing solidarity with the Washington Post and others by refusing to cover his campaign appearances until the credentials of the blacklisted outlets are restored.
After more than a year of giving Trump free exposure – $2 billion worth, in fact – there are signs that this is already starting to happen. For the first time during this election cycle, Fox, MSNBC, and CNN all cut away from their non-stop coverage of a Trump rally to cover remarks being given by Sec. Hillary Clinton and CNN’s Jake Tapper has been hitting Trump hard for several months now.
There is a real opportunity for our Fourth Estate to do something revolutionarily patriotic: to hold a fascist culpable for his hideous denigration of our country and its values. This is a moment in time when a good journalist with ethics and a deep love for our country can make his or her career by exposing Trump for the madman that he is; to be our generation’s Edward R. Morrow.
The rest of the world is watching us. Trump must not only be defeated by Hillary Clinton, he must be crushed. He must face a drubbing so epic and profound that no other candidate for our nation’s highest office (or any other office for that matter) ever again has the gall to drag our country into the historical slime pit previously occupied by evil people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and Pol Pot.
Donald Trump will be that person unless we stop him. The time is now. It’s time for those who exercise their all-American right of a free press to stand up and do their civic duty.
[CC photo credit: Jennifer Moo | Flickr]