Friday, May 13, 2016

Donald Trump Issues Veiled Threat Towards WaPo, Jeff Bezos Over Negative Coverage

....alright, Trumpiots, remind us again why he should be the 45th President of the United States?
Skip to 13:15 of the clip below. I’m going to guess that this interview was conducted after WaPo reached out to him for comment yesterday on their new story about “John Miller.”
Peter Suderman said everything that needs to be said about this. Nothing in the campaign to come will top Trump’s debate statement about issuing illegal orders to the military for sheer authoritarian creepiness — I hope. But a would-be president hinting that tax and antitrust problems might befall a company owned by a guy whose newspaper has been running stories he doesn’t like is up there with what he said about tightening libel laws for second place. To this day, you’ll see references from time to time on conservative blogs to a joke Obama told early in his presidency about getting the IRS to audit his political enemies. That joke lost its humor after we found out who Lois Lerner is; it’s used today as evidence that Obama’s mind always held a seed of thuggishness that grew and flowered in his second term. Now here’s Trump implying the same thing, without the humor. Had O said this about some right-wing media mogul whose publication had been critical of him, conservative media would be in a frenzy over “gangster government” trying to intimidate its critics into silence. Because it’s Trump, most righty media won’t care. If nothing else, that’s at least true to the revanchist spirit of Trump’s nationalist movement. If the left’s going to abuse government to intimidate its political enemies, why shouldn’t we? “Small government” is for chumps. This is war.
Meanwhile, enjoy Donald Trump, of all people, slamming a billionaire for using his tremendous influence over the media to advance his own political interests. Is that his real beef with Bezos? That Bezos had to pay to gain the power to shape media coverage that Trump, the expert showman, has enjoyed for free for the past year? Bezos paid $250 million for one paper; Trump’s wrung $2 billion in gratis promotion out of the full spectrum of television media over the past 11 months alone. (Go figure that WaPo, with a forthcoming book on Trump, wants to monetize public interest in him the way every other media outlet in America does.) Maybe what you’re seeing here on some level is a master manipulator’s disdain for an amateur.
Fitting that it happened on Hannity’s show, too. You’ll notice that the host, a long-professed enemy of big government and scourge of Obama’s abuses, doesn’t utter a peep as President Trump puts Bezos on notice. In hindsight, what percentage of “conservative” complaints about policy and statism during the tea-party era were really just wallpaper for the cultural resentments unleashed by Trump? Ninety? (Hot Air)
 Long story short: a few months back, Donald Trump - back when there was viable GOP opposition to the Narcissistic-in-Chief - opined that we should open up the libel laws so that he could sue anyone who wrote anything negative about him. Now, anyone with a modicum of common sense - which wouldn't include Trumpiots, by the way - knows that Trump's peddling bullshit of the rankest order, but hey, if it deflects attention from him, why not?

Anyway, fast forward to this week, when the Washington Post - owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos - published a front-page article alleging that Trump once masqueraded as a PR flack named John Miller back in the early 90's...cue the faux outrage from Trump and his media ass-kissers at Fox News over it and you can imagine where this one's gonna' go, especially after the Washington Post rightfully defended itself over the "Donald Trump is PR flack John Miller" article.

Here's the problem for Trump: under most libel law standards, Donald Trump would have a very hard time getting a libel suit to succeed against WaPo because Trump is a public celebrity and under most interpretations of libel law, anyone in the public sphere cannot sue for libel unless whatever is written about them is a deliberate falsehood, which by most accounts the WaPo article doesn't meet (in other words, its' a legit article). However, it offers, as the Boston Globe points out, a glimpse into what a Trump presidency would look like...hint: its' authoritarian, to say the least.

Indeed, as the Globe piece points out, Trump has long hinted at going after Bezos for his ownership of the Washington Post, alleging that Bezos is using the paper as a political tool to attack Trump...well, here's a newsflash, Mr. Trump: in a free society, that's one of the roles the media is supposed to play, the role of a watchdog over our political chattering classes. In most cases, they do a pretty good job (albeit w/a liberal bias most days). His threat agst Bezos - namely using the DOJ's anti-trust division to go after him - goes well beyond authoritarian because it also serves as an act of intimidation against both WaPo and other major newspapers of note, a way of saying, "if we can after them, we can come after you".

At best, this should be - like his not wanting to release his tax records - an automatic disqualifier for President....at worst, it is yet another example of why Donald Trump should not be President of the United States.

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