Are you ready for this? According to a new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos, 43% of Republicans think Donald Trump “should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior” (i.e., being critical of Donald Trump). This includes media outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
In addition, 48% of Republicans believe that the news media is “the enemy of the American people.” And 80% of Republicans said “most news outlets have a liberal bias,” while 79% of Republicans said that they believe that the mainstream media outlets treat Trump “unfairly.”
I don’t know about you, but I find this very sobering. It illustrates how effectively Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion — at least among Republicans — about the role the media plays in covering his administration.
Censoring the press and shutting down news outlets is a tactic used by autocratic and totalitarian regimes in order to silence political enemies, dissidents, and the opposition. It is not something that one would expect from a free and democratic society.
In fact, freedom of the press is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd said,
When the public’s right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered.
You may recall last month, when Trump was speaking before a group of veterans, he said, “Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.” He followed that up by saying, “And just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Yesterday I wrote a post, “Hook, Line, and Sinker,” in which I lamented, “The sad and disturbing thing is that too many people are buying — hook, line, and sinker — what this con artist [Donald Trump] is selling.”
This Ipsos survey demonstrates just how naive and gullible (and either brainwashed or brain dead) Republican voters have become.