Terrifying new poll shows most Republicans don’t support the 1st Amendment
For nine months Donald Trump has been steering the country into something that more closely resembles a fascist dictatorship. His tendency toward a strict authoritarianism is evident in almost everything he does and says. And the fact that he has issued more executive orders at this point in his presidency than any president in fifty years affirms his inherent imperialism. Particularly since he was a fierce critic of executive orders when President Obama was issuing them.
A new poll shows that Trump’s view of government supremacy has caught on with the Republican Party. The numbers are disturbing for a supposedly free democracy that cherishes a free press. Overall forty-six percent of respondents said that “the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump.” However, that number is heavily weighted by the views of Republicans. For GOP respondents alone it’s seventy-six percent who believe bad Trump press is made up.
The Trump Factor
It isn’t difficult to figure out where they got this idea from. Trump has been smearing the media for at least two years. His criticisms are not rational observations of press reporting. They are vicious insults and unsupported condemnations of journalists he says are evil. Just last week he told a radio talk show host that:
“I thought after I won, the media would become much more stable and much more honest. They’ve gone crazy. CNN is a joke. NBC is a total joke.”
In other words, he thought the media bend to the demands of those in power. Why else would journalists behave differently toward a candidate than a president. What’s more, he isn’t complaining about a particular story. He’s trashing whole networks as “jokes.” His undisguised purpose is to destroy the people’s faith in journalism as a whole. He wants people to believe no one but himself and his official proclamations on Twitter.
The consequences of his relentless propaganda have taken a toll. That’s how you end up with three-quarters of the GOP essentially opposing the First Amendment. And it gets worse. The poll also asked whether “the government should have the power to revoke broadcast licenses of major news organizations that it says are fabricating news stories about a president or the administration.” On this question as well there was a sharp partisan divide. Forty-six percent of Republicans said the government should have such power. Another twenty-one percent were undecided. So two-thirds of Republicans are comfortable with the government being able to shut down media based on content.
Cult of Personality Disorder
These are the views of a segment of the electorate that has been brainwashed to accept policies that are wholly un-American. Imagine what these same people would have thought if President Obama ever suggested taking such action. But they are perfectly fine with handing Trump the power to strip away the nation’s constitutionally protected press freedoms. That isn’t political partisanship. It’s cult worship. And it’s a dangerous trend that threatens the future of the American experiment in democracy.
Featured Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
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Mark Howard is the artist/author responsible for News Corpse, a website dedicated to analysis of the media and the right-wing bias inherent in a corporate-dominated media marketplace. His work has been published by nationally known progressive outlets such as Alternet and Salon. Follow News Corpse on Twitter and Facebook.