The deeply paranoid state of the new administration in the White House was once again highlighted this week by the continuing use of the Third Reich playbook to attack media outlets whose reporting incurs the displeasure of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. Where the Nazis attacked the “Lugenpresse”, any outlet Trump dislikes is now attacked as “Fake News”, and more recently “Enemies of the American people”.
So far, so disquieting, especially given the presence of those like Steve Bannon, formerly of the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart and believed to be the real power behind The Donald, but now the real censorship has started, with media organisations incurring Trump’s disfavour being barred from White House press briefings, which themselves are being taken away from the cameras.
Think about that for a moment. A great constant, no matter whose candidate occupied the Presidency of the USA, has been the visible and regular briefing of the press. Journalists have been free to question not only the President’s press officers, but the incumbent himself. Now, the Trump gang is cutting back on letting the President face questioning, and on top of that, shutting out many media organisations.
Who has fallen out of favour? Well, this is where it gets really worrying: the New York Times, CNN, the Guardian, the New York Daily News, Politico, BuzzFeed and even the Daily Mail (remember the Melania Trump lawsuit? You can bet the President does) have been excluded. And … the BBC. But Breitbart, the conservative Washington Times, and Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) have been allowed in.
Meanwhile, Trump has addressed the annual gathering of the right wing at CPAC, telling them “As you saw throughout the entire campaign, and even now, the fake news doesn’t tell the truth … I say it doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people, and we’re going to do something about it”. And the press in the UK blubbers and snivels at the thought of having a press regulator they can’t directly control.
What is starting in the White House is a premeditated attack on the freedom of the news media to report as they see it, without fear or favour. And the new occupant of that building has been - all too hurriedly - been invited to make a State Visit to the UK by our new and not at all unelected Prime Minister. Well, if Theresa May wants to show her commitment to the freedom of the press - and broadcasters - she has a very simple solution.
And that is that the invitation to Trump to make a State Visit to the UK be put in abeyance until the attack on free speech being made on his behalf ceases. No doubt there can be concerned diplomatic noises made beforehand, but the intent should be clear: a Presidency that is copying from the Nazi playbook should not be given the cachet of having the Royal Family wheeled out to give it its implicit seal of approval.
Theresa May is all for press freedom? Then she should stand up to Donald Trump. Now.