Tuesday, December 6, 2016


By Ronald T. Fox


Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly railed against the mainstream media (MSM), which he claimed was biased against him. He called them "dishonest,' "disgusting," and "scum,” among other things, and threatened lawsuits against media outlets he said libeled him. He wasn’t alone in his media indictment; more than four in 10 Americans agree, according to a recent Huffington Post survey, that he faced unduly negative coverage. The survey also found that a majority of Trump voters believe his version of the truth over what is reported by a national media outlet.
TRUMP IXTrump’s campaign team responded to the perceived media negativity by denying access to a number of news outlets, including Univision, Politico, The Daily Beast, and the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Des Moines Register. As president-elect, Trump has continued his assault on the media, berating two dozen TV news anchors and executives in a private tete-a-tete for their "outrageous" and "dishonest" coverage.  In the meeting, he allegedly called CNN a "network of liars."

Shortly after the election, Trump’s buddy Sean Hannity declared on Fox News that the MSM was fundamentally incapable of treating Donald Trump fairly. Hannity claims CNN attacks on president-elect Trump are getting worse every day (he liked to refer to CNN as short for the Clinton News Network). Accordingly, he is pushing to have CNN banned from having access to the White House. Trump’s contempt for the freedom of press, speech and expression, when he dislikes what is being said or written, was further underscored when he recently called for severe punishment for anyone who burns an American flag, despite the fact that such an act of free speech is constitutionally protected.  

Has the MSM in fact been unfair to Donald Trump?  And if so, will he predictably retaliate in ways that jeopardize our time-honored democratic principle of freedom of the press? Should we be bracing for the worst—a closed executive branch that provides media access only to friendly outlets which remain friendly?  I've devoted much thought to these questions. There's much on the line.