Attacking the press

The Trump campaign continues to attempt to suppress journalism.

Nobody should feel any confusion about this: The suits have no merit; they are an effort to suppress vigorous journalism as the presidential campaign season gets underway. The journos won’t be intimidated, but those companies’ business offices might be as the costs mount.

Longtime readers will recall that I predicted this:

Last, Trump has signaled plainly that he intends to neuter the media, that reporting which doesn’t flatter him will be punished. When scowls don’t work, my guess is that his tool of choice will be economic attrition via the courts — a long train of legally feeble but costly SLAPPs. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN were targeted in that way. We all know that newspapers, especially, are hurting, and so the expectation would be that the lesser news outlets would quickly fall into line.

Ha-ha. If The Donald thinks that journos are in it for the money, he is in for a big surprise. As Richard Nixon was surprised, say, when he thought that a court order could arrest publication of the Pentagon Papers — and woke-up to find them published in hundreds of newspapers all across the country.

It is not a coincidence that the Trump campaign has sued three of the most prominent news outlets in scarcely more than a week, and at this particular time. The aim is to intimidate them.

I claim no especial gift of prescience, by the way. I have read widely in history, though, and cartoon authoritarians like Trump are a commonplace — and so is a somnolent, uninformed public. The country is under attack from within, from a corrupt executive and his self-serving enablers, and we are going to lose this country to totalitarianism if we won’t defend it.

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