Saturday, April 1, 2017

Trump wants to sue the press for libel

President Trump set up an executive order signing ceremony on Friday.  He was to sign two documents that would make a shift in the trade policies of the United States.  After a brief statement, he walked out of the Oval Office.  He asked (ordered?) Vice President Mike Pence to pick up the folders with the executive orders as the President left the room.

The Vice-President did just that, walking out of the room along with the two guests that were to witness the signing.  Doors closed and the room is empty of officials.  Only the security guards and reporters left.  The reporters asking each other, he didn’t sign, did he?

What just happen?

An article in the New York Times the next day, discussing the orders, implied that the orders were eventually signed, I assume in the room where everyone withdrew to.

The reporters in the room were asking Mr. Trump about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s possible appearance before a congressional committee investigating Mr. Flynn’s and the Trump’s election campaign involvement with the Russians.  (We use that word “Russians” now not as a collective noun as meaning the people of the country and government but more as a personal noun meaning some dark and evil blob like the Smoke Monster in Lost.)  It is for that reason, in my opinion, that Trump left the room.  Trump thought he would teach them a lesson about what he expects when reporters are at events coordinated by him.

Trump is attempting to not only coral the press, but to pull them in line not just with his governmental policies but with his personality.  It can be seen in the way the press secretary treats the press at the daily briefings.  It can be seen the way Trump uses the media that support him.  It can be seen in the way Trump talks about “failing” newspapers, calls much of the press publishing fake news, or the personal attacks on specific reporters that he doesn’t like. 

In a recent Tweet, Trump asked the question, “Change libel laws?”  This was in context with a rant about the New York Times being a disgrace and that they have “Gotten me wrong for two solid years.”  This tweet was not about the President, a title of the office that anyone can hold if elected.  Not about governmental policy and not just about an opinion.  It was about him, Mr. Trump.  He used the word “me”.  Since the Times got “me” wrong for two solid years, he wants to change libel laws to allow him to sue (and jail?) the members of the press for having a different view point.

Let’s make a comparison here.  The NRA does not support anyone that uses a gun to kill innocent people.  (They should take a stronger position on that, but, that is another blog.)  But, every time a mass shooting happens, they stand in support of the Second Amendment.  Additionally, politicians that support gun rights also stand and support a right enshrined in the Constitution and it should not be violated.  During the Presidential election, Trump also support the Second Amendment.  

But, as soon as President Trump is attacked in the press (no one gets killed by the way and is still alive to present their point of view) instead of standing in support of an amendment to the Constitution that came before the gun rights, he wants to change the laws to allow him to sue, punish (and jail?). 

None of this has anything to do with the real issues that are facing our community right now.  Trump may have different opinions from this blogger, but that is part of the benefit of living in a diverse community.  But, when a person in authority is attempting to shut down the vehicle of communicating those diverse opinions and openly discussing the various viewpoints, it short cuts the benefits.