Donald Trump has been loudly hostile toward anyone who displeases him—through questioning him or even for accurately quoting him or reporting his activities. To expose him as a liar and self-contradictory hypocrite is contrary to his never-ending effort to paint himself as some greater being among lesser mortals.
The tweet reproduced above, exactly as it appeared, was posted shortly before election day by the individual whom Trump has since named as his National Security Advisor--Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Yes, really! This is not some charge concocted by what Donald has been referring to as a “lying”or “crooked” press. A New York Times story of Dec. 5 describes details at length how Flynn and his son Michael G. both have used social media to spread fake news stories linking Hillary Clinton to underage sex rings and other serious crimes—backed by absolutely no evidence.
I don’t know why everyone pussyfoots around talking about “fake news” when we’re talking about out-and-out malicious lies—in this case aimed against Hillary when she was a candidate. Die-hard Trumpians spew spittle all over the place in responding that this affair was all made up by a “lying press”—but again, I call attention to the above tweet and to detailed accounts all over the Internet.
It was obvious to us who didn’t vote for him that Trump had an ax out for the news media throughout his campaign. As early as June his personal insults were becoming more vicious toward individual news correspondents—and he had displayed total disdain for the Free Press guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. While he was vacuously claiming to “love” the Constitution, he also was keeping a black list of news organizations he was banning from his rallies.
It’s really tough for poor Donald. After rabble-rousing in inarticulate Sarah Palin style, he’s pushed to the wall when he tries to deny the accuracy of media coverage of it all. Particularly when someone manages to get a camera onto the scene and post it all on You Tube.
One might wonder if he will ever hold a press conference.
One of my favorite syndicated columnists, Leonard Pitts Jr. of The Miami Herald, wrote recently about our country entering the “post-factual era, led by an incompetent president who has no time for intelligence reports, yet is a devotee of a conspiracy website that claims symbols on a pizza menu are used by pedophiles to send messages.”
Pitts observed further of Trump: “This same guy spent much of the year castigating journalists as ‘dummies,’ ‘slime,’ ‘disgusting,’ ‘lame,’ ‘sad’ and ‘the lowest form of life,’ all of it eaten up by mobs that snarled and snapped at the traveling press corps, who stood penned up at his rallies like the goat lowered into the tyrannosaur paddock in ‘Jurassic Park’.”
And here’s one of Donald’s pre-election utterances: “One of the things I’m gonna do if I win . . . is I’m gonna 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. We’re gonna open up those libel laws . . . when the New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace, we will sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.
“With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people . . . We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.”
Well, Donald, you’re not actually bigger than the Constitutional Free Press, and you actually ARE like other people when it comes to civil rights guaranteed in that document. Even though you have more money than most anyone and also now have the power of the Presidency. The country now needs protection from you on all fronts—rather than worrying about protections for you from bruises to your fragile ego.
But let me get this straight. After you take office, you’ll actually be suing your critics? In court? How Presidential that will look in the eyes of the world. Other world leaders might be gathered somewhere to discuss Global Warming—but you’ll be busy trying to subjugate The New York Times.
Which brings us to the question of just who in recent months has been guilty of libel, slander, defamation of character, etc. How about yourself, Donald, during the campaign you referred to fellow nomination-seeker Carley Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” Not exactly libel, I guess, but didn’t it at least cross your mind that you caused pain and suffering there? Have you no shame?
Your opinion that Ms. Fiorina’s physical appearance didn’t measure up to your standard of acceptability was beneath contempt. It also would be laughable if it weren’t so sad, you before TV cameras (weighing an estimated 267 pounds, which makes you “obese”) referring from time to time to certain women as “fat pigs” or “fat slobs.” You’re not exactly handsome and sexually attractive, Donald—nowhere near a 10.
Malice, as likely in the case of Gen. Flynn and his son, is the major measure of libel. Truth alone, on the other hand, conquers ill-begotten charges of libel or slander, particularly when applying to a candidate for or holder of public office.
Trump told a Texas crowd: “I think the media is [sic] among the most dishonest group of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible.” That hearkens my memory back to the days of President Richard Nixon and “Watergate”—and the role of The Washington Post in alerting the public and keeping it informed. And before Nixon, his vice-president Spiro Agnew also was ousted. Thus, I look forward to the days ahead, as the nation’s responsible press continues to serve us.
The New York Times is Trump’s leading target in the news media (while he lets the likes of Fox News and individuals such as Sean Hannity skate as they butter him up, indulge him, and propound vacuous and biased analyses devoid of context). And Donald tweets away foolishly on Twitter as if he is a major news medium worthy of renown. The Times responded recently to one his denigrating outbursts:
“New York Times journalists are reporting around-the-clock to provide our readers with penetrating and comprehensive coverage of the incoming administration. We are incredibly proud of their work and we will never alter our approach to reporting the facts, without fear or favor, as we have always done.”
Trump seemingly scours the Internet in search of criticism during the late-night hours. I read the other day that he on one occasion wound up re-tweeting a high school teenager. Seems his time would have been better spent reading up on foreign policy . . . or maybe civil rights.
THE BOEING AFFAIR—Tweets: “If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to ‘tweet.’ Sadly, I don’t know it that will ever happen.”—Donald Trump 11:27 a.m. Dec. 5. “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”—Donald Trump, 5:52 a.m. Dec. 6.
There’s a lot of detail about this 747 project in the Dec. 7 issue of The Seattle Times, but it missed one major consideration, as did other stories in the National Review and elsewhere that pointed out that Trump hadn’t bothered to read the Boeing CEO’s financial report, etc.
However, those familiar with the president-elect’s thin-skinned, playground-level reaction to criticism will nod knowingly when considering also this following item from The Daily Beast:
“Seemingly out of nowhere on Tuesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump bashed Boeing on Twitter, declaring the company’s costs ‘out of control’ and saying the government should cancel an order for two new Air Force One jets. As it turns out, that seemingly random outburst against the aerospace company came within an hour after the Chicago Tribute published a column quoting Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg offering some tepid criticism of Trump’s aggressive trade rhetoric against China. ‘Muilenburg suggested the Trump team, and Congress, back off from the 2016 anti-trade rhetoric and perceived threats to punish other countries with higher tariffs or fees,’ read the column, by Robert Reed. ‘Instead, he suggested they get down to the business of advocating a stronger U. S. agenda during ongoing or upcoming trade negotiations with other countries. If we do not lead when it comes to writing these rules, our competitors will write them for us,’ he said.”
Donald stays awake nights dispatching tweets over perceived slights in the media. He just has to have the last word—even when it’s bare-boned and devoid of detail.