It is no secret that Donald Trump resents the media’s continuous pushback on his lies, corruption, and even bigotry. His allies and surrogates always make the rounds on TV to complain about it.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, who famously declared that Trump is only using “alternative facts,” is especially bothered.
Conway pivoted into an assault on the media, and finished with a stupefying assert about press freedom:
DOOCY: A couple nights ago on television, he said he wondered whether or not the president was fit to be president, fit to serve. If James Clapper is watching right now, what’s your message to him?
CONWAY: It’s such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist. It’s not just him. It’s a lot of people on TV. I remember — I’m old enough to remember when news stations reported the news. And didn’t just have a parade of pundits going out there and opinionating and rendering their opinions and pontificating and conjecturing. And I think it leads to analysis like this because people end up with very little to say. They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures…
You know, the media and other view figures — they were way too afraid of President Obama and his administration. They’re not afraid enough here…
Conway is stating the media needs to really be “forced” to record the information in a means that’s beneficial to Trump. She is lamenting that America doesn’t have full-scale government management of media content and that reporters are not satisfactorily “afraid” of Trump and his White House.
Trump has repeatedly bullied reporters covering him as well as shown his support for violence against the media.
Authoritarian, anti-press impulses are not anything new from this government. Conway has previously threatened to reverse Chuck Todd’s interview accessibility when he kept criticizing former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, and also stated pundits that “talk smack” about Trump should be fired.
Terrifyingly, however, some corners of the media appear to be moving in the direction Conway needs.
Ousted white supremacist advisor Steve Bannon is back at Breitbart and ready to wage “war” against any politician who dares to send a query Trump, even members of his own White House — a plan that has Trump’s tacit blessing.
On the face of it, Conway’s demand for journalists to be “pressured” to commend Trump may sound so absurd and un-American that it could never become reality.
But it is deceptively easy to erode a nation’s fundamental rights with time. Americans should take Conway at her word which Trump’s allies dream of dismantling the Fourth Estate and maintain the line to protect our democracy.