RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Reich writes: "Democracy depends on a free and independent press, which is why all tyrants try to squelch it. They use seven techniques that, worryingly, President-elect Donald Trump already employs."

Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)


Trump's Seven Techniques to Control the Media

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

06 December 16

 

emocracy depends on a free and independent press, which is why all tyrants try to squelch it. They use seven techniques that, worryingly, President-elect Donald Trump already employs.

1. Berate the media. Last week, Trump summoned two-dozen TV news anchors and executives to the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower to berate them for their reporting about him during the election. For twenty minutes he railed at what he called their “outrageous” and “dishonest” coverage. According to an attendee, “Trump kept saying, ‘we’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’” and he called CNN a “network of liars.” He accused NBC of using unflattering pictures of him, demanding to know why they didn’t use “nicer” pictures.

Another person who attended the meeting said Trump “truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”

2. Blacklist critical media. During the campaign, Trump blacklisted news outlets whose coverage he didn’t approve of. In June he pulled The Washington Post’s credentials. “Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” read a post on Trump’s Facebook page.

After the election Trump agreed to meet with the New York Times and then suddenly cancelled the meeting when he didn’t like the terms, tweeting “Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!” (He then reversed himself again and met with the Times.)

3. Turn the public against the media. Trump refers to journalists as “lying,” “dishonest,” “disgusting” and “scum.” Referring to the journalists at his rallies, Trump said, “I hate some of these people,” adding (presumably in response to allegations of Vladimir Putin’s treatment of dissident journalists) “but I’d never kill ‘em."

He questions the press’s motives, claiming, for example, that The Washington Post wrote negative things about him because its publisher, Jeffrey Bezos, a founder of Amazon, “thinks I would go after him for antitrust.” When the New York Times wrote that his transition team was in disarray, Trump tweeted that the newspaper was "just upset that they looked like fools in their coverage of me” during the presidential campaign.

4. Condemn satirical or critical comments. Trump continues to condemn the coverage he’s received from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” In response to Alex Baldwin’s recent portrayal of him as overwhelmed by the prospect of being president, Trump tweeted that it was a “totally one-sided, biased show – nothing funny at all. Equal time for us?”

When Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” read from the stage a message to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience – expressing fears about the pending Trump administration for the “diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations” on the cast – Trump responded angrily. He tweeted that Pence had been “harassed,” and insisted that the cast and producers of the show, “which I hear is highly overrated,” apologize.

5. Threaten the media directly. Trump said he plans to change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations. “One of the things I’m going to do if I win … I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”

During the campaign, Trump specifically threatened to sue the Times for libel in response to an article that featured two women accusing him of touching them inappropriately years ago. Trump claimed the allegations were false, and his lawyer demanded that the newspaper retract the story and issue an apology. Trump also threatened legal action after the Times published and wrote about part of his 1995 tax return.

6. Limit media access. Trump hasn’t had a news conference since July. He has blocked the media from traveling with him, or even knowing whom he’s meeting with. His phone call with Vladimir Putin, which occurred shortly after the election, was first reported by the Kremlin.

This is highly unusual. In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush called a press conference three days after the Supreme Court determined the outcome of the election. In 2008, President-elect Obama also meet with the press three days after being elected.

7. Bypass the media and communicate with the public directly. The American public learns what Trump thinks through his tweets. Shortly after the election, Trump released a video message outlining some of the executive actions he plans to take on his first day in office.

Aids say Trump has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that became a staple of his candidacy. They say he likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide.

The word “media” comes from “intermediate” between newsmakers and the public. Responsible media hold the powerful accountable by asking them hard questions and reporting on what they do. Apparently Trump wants to eliminate such intermediaries.

Historically, these seven techniques have been used by demagogues to erode the freedom and independence of the press. Even before he’s sworn in, Trump seems intent on doing exactly this.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-109 # JoaquinWalking 2016-12-06 13:19
Robert, your handlers own the media companies. How can Mr. Trump control what he doesn't own?
 
 
+84 # ericlipps 2016-12-06 20:39
Quoting JoaquinWalking:
Robert, your handlers own the media companies. How can Mr. Trump control what he doesn't own?

Apparently you didn't actually read the article, which spells out exactly how it's done.
 
 
-27 # skylinefirepest 2016-12-06 22:35
"Democracy depends on a free and independent press"???? Is that what we call screwing Bernie and then not saying a single word complimentary about trump?? Is that the "hillary press corps" at work trying to influence our election? I'd say the press absolutely NEEDS some controlling or better yet a good dose of self diagnosing honesty!
 
 
+30 # kalpal 2016-12-07 10:01
Which complimentary words do you suggest about a person who is pathological liar, misogynist, nativist and who has spent a life cheating his investors, contractors and oppressing the low wages employees?

Can we, should we, congratulate him on getting away with losing nearly a billion dollars of other peoples money?
 
 
+10 # madame de farge 2016-12-07 11:15
Well, we congratulate Jamie Dimon for loosing 6 BILLION of Tax payer money in the London whale and he gets 27 million in some kind of compensation though it must be more than that because he is a billionaire now..... GET REAL...Trump is just another john looking for his next trick... same as others we know...
 
 
+8 # treerapper 2016-12-07 02:45
Who's your HANDLER?? Tunnel Vision???
 
 
-9 # Logic 2016-12-06 13:29
My 3 new favorite web pages:

Washington Post page about fake news.
This page is amazing.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html?utm_term=.a901431c2533

Propornot home  
link to “The List" is on right side under “Contents”
http://www.propornot.com/p/home.html

the list
http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html
The list includes Truthout but somehow missed RSN.
 
 
+54 # paulkinzelman 2016-12-06 19:14
Interesting that breitbart.com is not on the list. Apparently they publish trump's version of reality.
 
 
+41 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-12-06 20:43
Quoting paulkinzelman:
Interesting that breitbart.com is not on the list. Apparently they publish trump's version of reality.
Trump’s Blacklist is like a back-handed compliment. If you’re on it, you might be a reliable news source but if you’re not on it, as a news source, you are worthless.
 
 
+7 # HowardMH 2016-12-07 12:54
Way to go Diane!!
 
 
+5 # Activista 2016-12-07 00:03
www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html?utm_term=.a901431c2533
has information - “The readers are more likely to share the fake stories, and they’re more profitable,” said Dyan Bermeo, who said he helped assemble scripts and book guests for Next News Network before leaving because of a pay dispute and concerns that “fake news” was crowding out real news."
there is pro$it in fake news - see supermarket tabloids ...
 
 
+99 # librarian1984 2016-12-06 15:28
"Democracy depends on a free and independent press."

Wow, really? It'd be great if we had one!

I'd be a lot more worried if I felt that anything valuable was at risk, but the 'free and independent' press is a myth. What we have is 90% of the media outlets owned by six corporations. Even NPR has become a Koch propaganda organ.

The public's opinion of the press is as low as it is for Congress because our magnificent 'independent' press has been feeding us 'fake news' since before it was a thing.

Who helped D!ck lie us into a war? The NYT.
Who just published a blacklist of independent media? The Washington Post.
Who sat silent while the Dem nomination was stolen and the DAPL protests were ongoing? All of them.

The press, since Bill Clinton and his cronies passed the Telecommunicati ons Act, have become propagandists and advertisers, used to keep the population scared and misinformed. They protect the powerful and ignore real news. They've cut their foreign reporting to nothing and become infotainment purveyors -- and poor ones at that.

I'm not thrilled with Trump but neither do I feel sympathy for the 'free and independent press' -- as mythical as a unicorn.

If anyone wants even a chance at real news, go to WaPo's blacklist and use those sources. (So the Post was useful for something, though they didn't mean to be. oops.)
 
 
+33 # Majikman 2016-12-06 18:49
Spot on, lib! 100 green thumbs
 
 
+21 # Saberoff 2016-12-06 19:50
Spot on!
 
 
+54 # JCM 2016-12-06 20:28
Another great loss for Democracy, during Reagan's administration, was the loss of the Fairness Doctrine where broadcasters had to present both sides of the issue honestly. Imagine that?
 
 
+18 # Jim Rocket 2016-12-07 11:42
Fox News could not exist with the Fairness Doctrine. A lot of the MSM are greedy and corrupt but Fox is a machine designed to produce Republican victories and it's bordering right on the edge of sedition. Trump's victory would not be possible without Fox carpet bombing weak minds for years.
 
 
+23 # ericlipps 2016-12-06 20:38
"Bill Clinton and his cronies"?

Anyone who thinks Congress was full of Clinton "cronies" in 1996, when the Telecommunicati ons Act was passed, must have been asleep that year.

That was the heyday of the Gingrich Congress, when Republicans were gearing up to impeach President Clinton for whatever they could think of just in case Bob Dole didn't beat him in that year's election.
 
 
+14 # Skyelav 2016-12-06 21:00
Yes EricLipps, but the good old 103rd, was it, was the first republican controlled congress that was really a stonewaller. Of course Slick WIllie was really a Republican in Democrat's clothing, now, wasn't he?
 
 
+11 # economagic 2016-12-06 21:43
I always referred to him as the best Republican president since Eisenhower. Think about it. On the other hand (hey, I'm an economist) I'm not sure I would stand by that judgment now.
 
 
+11 # librarian1984 2016-12-07 00:27
Newt had such an obvious man-crush on Bill as they worked on welfare reform etc. Some of Newt's people were annoyed with him for cooperating with Bill -- but why not? Look at all the GOP wishes that were granted.
 
 
0 # madame de farge 2016-12-07 11:19
Newt and Bills GRAND BARGAIN was to turn over Social Security to WALL STREET and then they were going to dismantle Medicare... Don't kid yourself, the Clinton Foundation shows who the Clintons are beholden to...
 
 
+1 # markovchhaney 2016-12-07 05:20
Sorry, who signed the bill into law, Eric?
 
 
+12 # futhark 2016-12-07 07:48
Never in the history of the world has there been more egregious examples of fake news with more tragic consequences than the propagation of the official narrative on the 9/11 attacks and the Cheney/Bush public assurances that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was justified by the fact that Saddam Hussein possessed and was likely to use Weapons of Mass Destruction against the United States and other western nations. Oh, I suppose we could add the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to our list of mainstream media fake news that had disastrous consequences for all parties concerned.

Mr. Trump's exploitation of public distrust in mainstream media may be unethical, but the media itself is at fault for undermining its own credibility, creating an opportunity for this ethical cretin to use the consequent distrust for his own narrow advantage.
 
 
+4 # madame de farge 2016-12-07 11:18
NPR and PBS are now corporate controlled because they are the ones with the gold.... We taxpayers are like dickens poor children begging for food...
 
 
-22 # Aliazer 2016-12-06 19:04
Reinch, assuredly living in an ivory tower, again displays his total ignorance of the current status of the U. S. corporate media which has been a tool of propaganda, misinformation and out an out purveyor of disinformation!!

Most Americans truly believe in a free press but so called "free press" hasn't attended to that responsibility for numerous years. For that, I applaud Mr. Trump for chastising them. Good for him!!!
 
 
+9 # Jim Rocket 2016-12-07 11:45
I'm sure Trump has the best interest of all Americans at heart... Not!
 
 
+6 # wrknight 2016-12-06 19:31
The pot calleth the kettle "black".
 
 
-22 # dbrize 2016-12-06 19:35
This reminds of those many mailed (now emailed of course) envelopes with catchy "please open me" slogans on front:

"Ten Ways to survive the coming Depression"

"Six Ancient Mayan discoveries that will keep YOU Cancer Free"

"The Eight Best Internet Stocks to Hold Forever"

Oh well, I guess they must have convinced someone.

Poor Bob Reich, you can almost tell his heart isn't really in it.

This is what happens when you have to maintain favor with the Berkeley faculty lounge. But jeez Bob, if you're going to do fear, do it with some gusto. This stuff is sleep inducing.
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2016-12-06 19:42
Quoting dbrize:
This reminds of those many mailed (now emailed of course) envelopes with catchy "please open me" slogans on front:

"Ten Ways to survive the coming Depression"

"Six Ancient Mayan discoveries that will keep YOU Cancer Free"

"The Eight Best Internet Stocks to Hold Forever"

Oh well, I guess they must have convinced someone.

Poor Bob Reich, you can almost tell his heart isn't really in it.

This is what happens when you have to maintain favor with the Berkeley faculty lounge. But jeez Bob, if you're going to do fear, do it with some gusto. This stuff is sleep inducing.


Another snore-making critique without a better idea!
 
 
-9 # dbrize 2016-12-06 20:38
rp:

Not a bad riposte but below your usual standards.

But hey, I accept your challenge.

Reich isn't proposing a "better idea", he's whining. So we'll examine his "Seven Techniques":

1. So Trump "berates" the media. So what? They go immediately weak in the knees? Toughen up wimps.

2. What gives Reich the last word on defining "critical" media? All that WAPO and NYT's have been good for are planted stories and MIC/CIA/Corpora te global baloney.

Blacklisting won't prevent them from printing. THAT might be worth wishing for but isn't going to happen.

3. This is just a repeat of number one. Reich is already running on empty. Trump says nasty things about them. Poor babies. Toughen up wimps.

4. Now Trump has REALLY stepped in it! Criticizing Hollywood and Broadway. Now here's an impeachable offense for sure. Of course I'm old enough to remember when old Harry Truman lowered the boom on that critic who demeaned his daughter Margaret's singing. Now THAT was some salty language.

5. Wow. He threatens them "directly". Since when does the president make law? If Reich was really serious about this charge he wouldn't be writing about it.

6. He's not in office yet. One thing I assure one and all based on a number of experiences in the DC beltway. EVERYTHING leaks, usually sooner than later.Trump will quickly learn the best way to control the message are the beltway hook, er, press corps.

7. Welcome to the 21st century Bob. Better get used to it.
 
 
+5 # mim 2016-12-06 23:17
If that's whining, then whine on!

I don't have an opera-length pearl necklace, but if I had one I'd clutch it.
 
 
+3 # mim 2016-12-07 09:27
What I meant is that dbrize accused Reich of whining. If what Reich said is whining, then we need more whining, not less.

Also hand wringing and pearl clutching.

But, especially, truth telling.
 
 
0 # dbrize 2016-12-07 10:01
Quoting mim:
What I meant is that dbrize accused Reich of whining. If what Reich said is whining, then we need more whining, not less.

Also hand wringing and pearl clutching.

But, especially, truth telling.


No explanation necessary but revisions are always appreciated. Actually, your interest in "truth telling" can help bring the discussion into something more focused than mere venting.

For instance, help move us forward by telling us which of Reich's "seven techniques" are illegal and why? While at it, you may even show me where my "critiques" of Reich err.
 
 
+1 # dbrize 2016-12-08 08:12
And...crickets.
 
 
+13 # Skyelav 2016-12-06 21:02
Last time I looked a "critique" didn't require "another idea..."
 
 
+25 # reiverpacific 2016-12-06 19:40
There goes the 1st Amendment; -although I doubt that Drumpf has read it.
He doesn't dig anything that he doesn't own and control.
Remind you of anybody (hint WW11)?
 
 
-7 # dbrize 2016-12-06 20:48
Quoting reiverpacific:
There goes the 1st Amendment; -although I doubt that Drumpf has read it.
He doesn't dig anything that he doesn't own and control.
Remind you of anybody (hint WW11)?


You will be happy to know that the latest Freedom House report still ranks the US ahead of the UK in freedom of the press.

But, advise you put double locks on your doors and install camera's just in case.
 
 
+4 # Ruth1940 2016-12-06 22:16
"You will be happy to know that the latest Freedom House report still ranks the US ahead of the UK in freedom of the press."

They haven't done ratings since the rise of Trump.

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/freedom-press-2016
 
 
-2 # Jim Rocket 2016-12-07 11:48
Reich is concerned about what's going to happen. The media is in a bad place due to greed and conglomeration. It might not take much to push it right over the cliff.
 
 
-2 # dbrize 2016-12-07 18:55
Quoting reiverpacific:
There goes the 1st Amendment; -although I doubt that Drumpf has read it.
He doesn't dig anything that he doesn't own and control.
Remind you of anybody (hint WW11)?


Since you have expressed a preference for "better ideas" to awaken your intellectual talents from snoozing, please enlighten us as to where "there" is in your imprecise phrase "There goes the first Amendment" since you apparently have read it.

Start by informing us of anything Trump has done that denies the First Amendment? Then you may enlighten us as to what proposals Trump has suggested that would deny it?
 
 
-1 # dbrize 2016-12-08 18:13
And...more...cr ickets.
 
 
+25 # Realist1948 2016-12-06 21:52
I'm surprised by the number of harsh criticisms of Reich that appear here. RR identified 7 techniques for impeding objective reporting by the media, and gave examples of how Trump is using them. Pretty straight-forwar d, IMHO.

Near the end of Reich's article he wrote, "Aids say Trump has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that became a staple of his candidacy. They say he likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide." A few days ago Trump held a rally in Cincinnati. As I'm typing this, he's holding another one in North Carolina. What Reich noted about "aids say" is indeed happening. How long before the "Trump Youth" rallies begin?
 
 
+7 # Majikman 2016-12-06 22:27
Sometimes I literally play mind games with myself: i.e. I will deliberately shut off my critical reasoning and "absorb" what I'm reading or listening to without judgement. (wonderful for music) When I did this with articles that are anti-Trump, I found that I experienced a profound "fear quotient" of the heart pounding variety. To correct this, I had to reread the piece in my critical/ questioning/obj ective mode. I can see how easily manipulated are those who cannot or will not remain in charge of their own minds but look for saviors and boogymen.
 
 
+7 # librarian1984 2016-12-07 00:35
Yes! The fear is palpable.

I feel sorry for people that are so freaked out but intelligent people need to use their brains to rise above the manipulation. I blame Clinton and the msm, who put a lot of effort into making exactly that happen.
 
 
+15 # mim 2016-12-06 23:21
Here's an eighth tactic: make anyone in a position to see how you operate sign a lifetime nondisparagemen t contract. That's what his campaign volunteers had to sign; it's also what his wives, at least his first wife Ivana, had to sign, so she had to take back her account of his marital violence.
 
 
+13 # librarian1984 2016-12-07 00:38
Reporters have said that the one thing they are not allowed to say about Trump is that he doesn't have as much money as people think.
 
 
+12 # Activista 2016-12-07 00:23
Trump has a dictator mentality - who is against him/disagrees must be eliminated.
Blacklist critical media - censor them - declare them anti-American.
Will USA survive a Trump or we will disintegrate like CCCP (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) due to censorship?
Without objective information decisions are not possible.
We have history/examples:
Illegitimate Media: Race, Gender and Censorship in Digital Remix Culture
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0549507698
2008
The first cultural productions to be targeted for censorship following Ronald Reagan's election were books. Judy Blume, bestselling author of novels for children ...
 
 
+6 # markovchhaney 2016-12-07 05:28
It's ALL about creating fear, and these days the Democrats are just as adept at pushing the buttons of their members as are the Republicans. And both sides scream that it's (only) the other guys doing it. If I had a dime for every email I've gotten in the last two years from various "liberal" organizations screaming about the latest GOP/Trump outrage and soliciting money from me, I'd be able to quit my job.
 
 
+5 # Majikman 2016-12-07 07:33
My democrat senator loves to send frantic e-mails about the latest threat du jour and request $$$ to fight the menace. Of course, there's never a peep heard in public from this senator about aforementioned scare. My response is always "Please take me off your hit list"
 
 
+5 # Patriot 2016-12-07 09:52
I agree that Reich's hankywringing is pitiful, but bear in mind that we must see to it that the Repugs & Trump don't take any actions that would PERMANENTLY abridge freedom of the press. Who knows, someday we may actually enforce the Sherman Anti-trust Act once again, & be able to break up the 6-owner (soon to be 5-owner?) monopoly of our entire print & broadcast news industry--so let's be sure that laws remain on the books that would enable a revitalized industry to operate with impunity when it challenges the words & deeds of goverment.

I agree, it's hard not to savor a little glee at knowing the so-called news outlets are taking a beating at Trump's hands--they certainly deserve one, but not for the reasons Trump's using. They should be drawn & quartered for covering Trump's every twitch all year & for utterly ignoring (except to castigate) Sanders & Stein & Johnson--& for failing to raise even an eyevrow, let alone serious challenges over the fraudulent Dem primaries & the shenanigans of the general election.

Also, dangerously, the media continue to try to pillory Putin because their owners pant to get into a war with Russia--a piece of insanity if ever there was one. The media deserve plenty of tongue-lashing- -but it's a shame that they're getting it from an ovegrown child who doesn't like what they say about him. Tough luck, folks! Enjoy YOUR turn at rage & frustration. You've ceetainly contributed mightily to OUR rage & frustration for far too long!
 
 
0 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-12-07 10:46
A minor point:'The word “media” comes from “intermediate” between newsmakers and the public.'

No: the term is Communication Media, i.e., instruments. first popularized by Marshall McLuhan in the early 1960's
 
 
+1 # maindrains 2016-12-07 10:47
The media filter the news in their own self interest. Much that is newsworthy never gets reported. If Trump continues to be his own news source and we also have the MSM and the even better independent news sources how can we lose?
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN