A lot of attention has been focused on the fact that President Donald Trump’s administration is trying, for the first time in a long time, to take down the press.
But, what’s really interesting about this whole thing is that it’s not just the media that Trump has attacked.
It’s the media itself.
The White House’s actions against the media over the past year and a half are an example of how Trump has been increasingly attempting to take the fight against the press to its logical conclusion.
The Trump administration has, for years, tried to discredit and destroy the press in the eyes of the public.
In a nutshell, they’ve tried to use the press as a way to discredit their administration.
Trump has publicly claimed that the media is a “dishonest rag” and a “scam” that should be “fired.”
And this administration has been attempting to discredit the media in the media for years.
For instance, in January 2017, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a group of reporters that “nobody knows” what was going on in the press room, but that “we have a great sense of the press corps.”
Later that year, in response to a question about the White House press pool, Sanders repeated the same line.
“No one really knows.
No one really has any idea.
No, there are so many things going on, and the whole thing could just be a ruse,” Sanders said.
Later that month, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, White Press Secretary Sean Spicer asserted that the press is “not a good entity” that can “control its own agenda.”
“There are certain things that the reporters can do,” Spicer said.
“But you can’t control what the president wants to do.”
And last week, Spicer said that reporters are “very unimportant” to the Trump administration.
Spicer even suggested that the White of the United States should “let people be journalists” to “give them some breathing room.”
But the Trump White doesn’t just try to discredit press freedom.
They’re also trying to destroy it.
In May 2017, the White’s Office of Strategic Communications sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to all news organizations.
In it, the office accused “major news outlets” of “failing to adhere to standards and procedures” and said that they “may lose their licenses” if they didn’t comply with the letter.
The letter also demanded that “any news organization that receives a Dear Colleague letter from the Whitehouse will be required to cease and desist reporting on any White House story or any aspect of the Trump Administration.”
The letter, which is dated May 11, 2017, was sent to all outlets in the newsrooms of the Associated Press, CNN, Politico, The Washington Post, ABC News, CBS News, The New York Times, NBC News, CNNMoney, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC.com, Fox Business, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.
The Dear Collleague letter is the most egregious example of the administration’s attempt to silence the press since President Trump took office.
It goes on to claim that the Associated States Department of Justice “will not tolerate” any news outlet reporting on the “personal or political” conduct of the president.
It also demanded any news organization with a “negative” title “notify us within 30 days” that the company will “be terminated from its employment” and that it “will be required” to cease all coverage of the WhiteHouse.
The administration is also seeking to shut down the media’s ability to report on certain stories that could potentially affect the president’s agenda.
In December, for instance, the administration sought to ban “news outlets that publish stories that are ‘biased’ or ‘disparaging’ toward the president.”
In addition, the letter also asked the press and other media outlets to refrain from reporting on “disgruntled employees, political adversaries, and others who are critical of the President.”
In response to the administration issuing this letter, the Associated news organizations responded that they were “not in the business of publishing such things.”
They noted that they rely on the press for critical information, and they were confident that the administration would never pursue such a baseless and dangerous move against the free press.
“Our position is that there are no facts to support a White House order banning a news outlet from reporting about the conduct of an individual President,” they wrote.
The Trump administration’s approach to media freedom is a clear threat to press freedom and, indeed, to democracy itself.”