You don’t have to be a Trump lover to cheer like a WWE fan every time the powerful media corporations who manipulate the way Americans think and vote smash their brains against this administration like a pigeon into a clean window pane and slide lifeless to the floor. These deep state propagandists have been crying like a spoiled child whose mom can’t afford the latest video game console ever since the president tweeted a video depicting Trump laying the smackdown on CNN, and their tears taste like they were brewed by Oompa-Loompas. I’ve viewed this tweet an embarrassing number of times, and I am still ridiculously happy that this is a thing that can happen in this timeline:
Haha! Boom! Hope you like the taste of ringside canvass, Jeff Zucker!
CNN and its barely-distinguishable peers from the rest of the corporate media soup have been decrying the tweet with infinitely more vitriol and panic than they have ever applied to any US president’s war crimes, proclaiming that Trump has “declared war” upon the press and is “inciting violence” against them.
Nice. You’re really earning those million dollar paychecks, fellas. “The press! The press! He’s attacking the press! Won’t someone please think of the press?” Personally I’m a little curious about what’s happening in Syria and if we’re all about to be drawn into a world war with a nuclear superpower and its allies, but fuck me, right? We need to worry about Trump retweeting a shooped video about “the press”.
But who is “the press”, exactly? Is it really the handful of extremely powerful media entities that Trump has been criticizing? Would there really be a big empty hole where the press used to be if the president succeeded in undermining them? Is it really accurate to say, as these pundits have been claiming, that Trump is attacking the press whenever they refuse to bend the knee and worship him like a god?
No, no, and no. In reality “the press” is made up of far more than just the handful of corporate media giants that the president has been taking swings at. The Supreme Court found in 1938’s Lovell v. City of Griffin that the press is “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” It’s not just the few gargantuan media conglomerates who have figured out how to make billions and billions of dollars peddling establishment propaganda for the oligarchs who own them, it’s the alternative media, bloggers, Youtubers, tweeters, social commentators, book authors, and the obscure little zine publisher downtown.
It’s also WikiLeaks.
Contrary to ignorant claims made by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the First Amendment doesn’t give rights to US citizens, it sets limits on the government’s ability to limit free speech. It doesn’t matter that Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, his press freedom is just as constitutionally protected in the United States as anyone else’s. He is just as much a part of the press as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times or any of the other corporate media outlets currently shrieking bloody murder claiming Trump’s criticism is “inciting violence” against them. Which is really weird considering how many personnel from these corporate media outlets have actively called for Assange’s actual, literal assassination. Where was the outcry then?
The absolute gall of these corporatist hobgoblins to speak of themselves as though they provide America a service it needs, as though the world wouldn’t be vastly better off if they all went out of business tomorrow, is astounding. You want to know what would happen if these giant corporations folded? It would become harder for the military-industrial complex to manufacture support for its corporatist bloodbaths, a few plutocrats would lose a lot of money, some companies would have to find other television programs to advertise on, and people would start thinking for themselves. That’s it. The press would remain perfectly intact, just minus a few cancerous tumors.
Corporate media are not “the press”. They are a part of the press, and for that reason enjoy the same constitutional protections as all the other parts of the press, but they are by far the least healthy part. As much as I dislike Trump, his administration has undeniably been great for shaking up the media war and creating enough movement to force a lot of the lies and manipulations to stand out against the background. It is only a matter of time before people just can’t stomach these obsolete dinosaurs anymore and they finally fade away once and for all.
And they know it. They can hear their end roaring ever closer. They aren’t afraid of anyone “inciting violence” against them, they’re afraid of the world waking up.
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