Action alert from Freepress
The first sign of a fascist government? The disappearance of a free press.
Yesterday, top TV news journalists and network executives met for an “off-the-record” meeting with Donald Trump.
While the press expected a conversation about access to a Trump administration, the president-elect spent the time scolding and ridiculing them.1
Trump’s hostility to the media is well-documented. He attacks any reporting that isn’t overwhelmingly favorable toward him. He hasn’t held a real press conference since July. He’s banned reporters from covering events and ditched the White House press pool.
Even more disturbing: This strategy is working. Trump is controlling the narrative and using his tweets and insults of the press to distract from his frightening appointments of white supremacists, his shady business deals and his incessant attacks on our democracy.
The mainstream media — particularly TV news — spent the past year boosting Donald Trump and giving him mostly unfiltered access to their megaphones. They’ve consistently covered Trump’s tweets more thoroughly than his legal scandals, his attacks on vulnerable communities and his conflicts of interest.
The media rarely use the word “racist” to describe Trump’s positions and have moved quickly since Election Day to normalize the new administration.
But this isn’t normal. We need an adversarial press more than ever.
In yesterday’s meeting, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and NBC all went off the record with Trump. Now they must go on the record with the public and tell us how they will respond not just to attacks on the media but to threats to our democracy.
Are they going to challenge this new administration? Are they going to put their resources into more reporters and in-depth investigations? Are they going to call out racism, misogyny and fascism? Are they going to stop being publicists and start speaking truth to power?
Let’s send a message to everyone from the networks who met with Trump yesterday and demand to know what they’ll do differently in the face of attacks on press freedom and so much more.
For far too long the mainstream media have valued preserving access over challenging those in power. That needs to end now.
Thanks for all that you do—
Craig, Candace, Joe and the rest of the Free Press team
P.S. Urge the TV news networks to stop giving Trump a free pass and start holding him accountable.