Those who want to dismiss Trump’s threats to MSNBC and other media are ignoring the former President’s threats to democracy.
Video of Psaki:
.@jrpsaki: “Putin and Xi are models for Trump. Leaders who jail and silence journalists. Leaders who do not tolerate free speech. That’s what Trump is threatening. If you don’t think he is dying to silence his critics in the media… Think again.” pic.twitter.com/yv5EAkbC8V
— Inside with Jen Psaki (@InsideWithPsaki) December 3, 2023
I thought of these words when I was at the White House, because it was a reminder that even when things were combative, and they were at times, even when reporters kept pushing and questioning, as was their job, that was democracy working. That is what a free press is supposed to do.
And it doesn’t exist everywhere in the world. In fact, it’s diminishing in the world. So Trump’s Truth Social post may have seen unhinged and crazy and random and like you can ignore it, but it’s actually a threat to the free press. A threat to democracy.
And that threat comes at a time when a record total of 533 journalists are currently detained worldwide. That’s according to Reporters Without Borders. A large number of them are being held by the sorts of authoritarian regimes that Trump envisions creating here at home. These are countries being led by his role models.. These are models for Trump, we know that. Leaders who jail and silence journalists. Leaders who do not tolerate free speech. That’s what Trump is threatening. And if you don’t think he’s eager to use those powers if you don’t think he’s dying to silence his critics and the media, think again.
There is a false sense of security among some Americans that if Trump returns to the White House, democracy, and the Constitution will protect the nation from his authoritarianism, but the Constitution is a living document that is constantly being interpreted by the courts.
If Trump returned to the White House and finished loading the court system with far-right judges, there may be nothing to stop him from doing whatever he wants.
The federal government has no power to regulate cable news networks now, but there is no guarantee that the situation will stay that way in the future.
Trump wasn’t just threatening MSNBC. He was also threatening press freedom and democracy.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
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Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association