We know the Trump administration is not below lying to the public.
Hot take: the fate of our republic could be in the hands of NBC News’ Chuck Todd. (Yikes).
Let me explain: Steve Schale, a former political strategist for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run, delivered what might be the most obvious point about the Trump’s news media strategy, tweeting:
It’s hard to say he’s wrong. Here’s a fun exercise you can try for yourself at home: The next time there’s a bombshell report out about the next piece of evidence of collusion, you should immediately dive in — head first — into one of the right-wing echo chambers. Get your feet wet with Breitbart. Keep diving into the depths with Drudge Report (if you can stomach the poor web design). While you’re at it, descend to 4chan’s /pol/ board for the “President Trump General” /ptg/ thead. Dip into r/TheDonald on Reddit and gaze in awe upon a showcase of the most delusional mental gymnastics performances in American history. The right is doing everything it can to downplay, deflect, and distract from this increasingly damning information. And it has worked. These caverns of the web are where Trump’s ride-or-dies hide; never to believe negative coverage of Trump, for it is fake no matter how truthful.
We know the Trump administration is not below lying to the public. David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson of the “New York Times” published a cheat sheet for Donald Trump’s lies since taking the oath of office on June 23 . Since then, Politifact has caught Trump in 6 more lies.
We know that Trump administration is willing to play dirty. Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker of the “Washington Post” reported earlier this week that while the White House is in a panic, Republican operatives are reportedly looking to launch a smear campaign against the journalists who have been publishing these revelations. This campaign will supposedly look into these journalists’ prior work for errors, feed these errors to Trump-friendly outlets like Fox News (shocker), and demand corrections. I’m all for journalistic accountability, but the intent of this first amendment hit-squad is not to keep journalists honest — it’s to make the Trump presidency appear victimized by a “dishonest press.” Sorry to be that guy, but Germany faced a similar phenomenon in the 1930s.
Hypothetically speaking, if you were accused of colluding with a foreign government, and you were certain that you did nothing wrong, would you cooperate with the investigation to clear your name, or try to obstruct the investigation and engage in a politically dangerous and morally bankrupt smear campaign?
If you’re confused as to which one Trump picked, let’s not forget that he fired the former director of the FBI over the Russia debacle and admitted it on TV. Let’s not forget that his administration threatened a smear campaign against MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski using The National Enquirer, whose editor-in-chief Dylan Howard is a friend of Donald Trump.
We know that over the past seven months, the Trump administration has shown themselves to be serial liars who try to delegitimize the news media with claims of “fake news” and alternative facts. Press briefings are no rarely on camera, press conferences from Trump himself are few and far between, and Trump is cautious speak to American journalists abroad. The suppression of access to the presidency combined with rampant lies coming from the presidency is an enormous red flag.
The news media is a powerful microphone to disseminate information. For the sake of the republic, that information must not come in the form of propaganda from an uncooperative, unstable president under federal investigation for potentially impeachable offenses.
Back to Steve Schale’s tweet from earlier. Chuck Todd, who not only hosts NBC’s Meet The Press and MSNBC’s Meet The Press Daily, but is also the Political Director for NBC News, said in response to Steve’s tweet:
Chuck, wake up and smell the Stroganoff! Delegitimizing the press has been Donald Trump’s strategy throughout his campaign and throughout his administration. Letting members of the Trump family speak to the press serves an important role, both because they are under investigation and because there’s a good chance they’ll implicate themselves if given the chance to. But the spokespeople — the Kellyanne Conways, Sean Spicers, and Sarah Huckabee-Sanderses of the world — are merely mouthpieces for a controlled stream of lies meant to develop a false view of reality while simultaneously convincing Americans to distrust reality itself to advance their political agenda.
By deciding to not allow them on the air, and by devoting that coverage time to the many other issues in this country that aren’t being reported on, you can begin the hard work of giving the voiceless a voice, and winning back public trust that has been lost.
Chuck Todd, or any other Sunday news show host: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS’ John Dickerson, CNN’s Jake Tapper, or (even) Fox’s Chris Wallace has a chance to permanently etch their name in history forever: be the first news anchor and news team to announce that you will no longer provide a platform to an administration that is under FBI investigation for collusion with a foreign power, and lies about the existence of that very investigation unless the Trump family and related associates currently being investigated are willing to speak in person and on the record.
It’s time for the fourth estate to fight back.