Unprecedented Act of Totalitarianism

This happened today:

Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend.

Organizations allowed in included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in to the briefing, chose not to attend in protest of the White House’s actions.

No presidential administration has ever pulled anything remotely like this in U.S. history.

This also happened today:

President Donald Trump criticized the media again on Friday while speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Trump claimed it was wrongly reported that he called the media the “enemy of the people” last week, saying he’d actually called “fake news” the enemy. But he has branded such reputable media outlets as the The New York Times, CNN, NBC and others “fake news.”

The president argued that the First Amendment gives him “the right to criticize fake news and criticize it strongly.”

“[The media] say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment,” Trump said.

“I love the First Amendment. Nobody loves it better than me,” he added.

Trump also said he thinks news outlets should not use anonymous sources, despite using them himself to make claims that have been proven false.

For the record, Trump really did appear to call out several media outlets as “enemies of the people”

Josh Marshall wrote,

Authoritarians always portray attacks on a free press as a sign of strength when in fact it’s sign of cowardice and weakness. Perhaps another way to put it is that weakness and strength have a particular meaning for free people. Fear of free people or violence against their mores is weakness. In our tradition if you fear free society, if you run to toadying sycophants to avoid being challenged, or demand followers toast your every action with superlatives, you’re a coward. You’re weak. You lack the strength to lead. This isn’t Russia. It’s not Horthy’s Hungary. This is America.

See also —

What else happened recently? This was reported yesterday.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to push back against news stories about contacts between Trump aides and Russians during the presidential campaign, Trump administration officials acknowledged Friday, drawing accusations from Democrats of improper interference into a pending investigation.

The story is that Priebus asked the FBI to publicly debunk a story about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Priebus’s version of this is that the FBI contacted him to tell him the Russian-Trump campaign story is “garbage.” Of course, we have to take The Anagram’s word for that.

As many have pointed out, if someone connected to Hillary Clinton had been accused of asking the FBI to quash a story about alleged ties between her campaign and Russia, every committee in Congress would be holding hearings already. See also Charles Pierce.

Update: Turns out I am missing a chunk of the story. The story about Priebus asking the FBI to quash the story came out last night. Early this morning, the so-called president had a tweetfit about it.

“The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time,” Trump wrote on Twitter, breaking his message up into multiple posts. “They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.”

So, basically, Priebus tries to “fix” the story with the FBI and was rebuffed, and several news outlets got wind of it and published this. Priebus makes up another story to cover his ass. But this morning the so-called president has a fit that blew earlier talking points out of the water. And the news outlets that did most of the reporting on the FBI story are blocked from the press briefing.

25 thoughts on “Unprecedented Act of Totalitarianism

  1. Trump is mentally ill.. That’s the biggest problem facing America. Well, actually it’s not. The biggest problem is the people who either lack the intellect or lack the courage to acknowledge and confront Trump’s mental illness.

  2. I am reminded of Ron White’s quip: “I had the right to remain silent, but not the capacity.”

  3. t-RUMPLE-This-Skin is trying to compensate for havng a tiny, wrinkled orange pee-pee, by trying to put the Big Dick in DICKtator!

    He knows not what he does.
    This actually LIBERATES the news networks he accuses of being “fake news.”

    Dear t-RUMPLEe-Thin-Skin,
    You shallow, narrow-minded, stupid, ignorant, bigoted, and amoral twit!
    If they can’t hear and report what you say directly, they will be glad to do so indirectly.

    What you call, “fake news,” only applies to news reports from media sources that are critical of you and your mal-adminstration’s imbecilic policies.

    Now, they still have a duty to report on you, you dimwitted little orange shit-stain!
    And they won’t report what YOU and your minion’s say directly, but on what OTHERS say YOU and your idiotic minions, say!
    Media sources that cover the POTUS and the US government, cannon be “Fake News.”
    Only you, and your minions provide fake news to cover what’s REALLY going on.

    You keep shouting bullshit louder and louder, trying to make something out of idiotic meme’s.
    Good liuck with that, “MORAN!!!”

    Unless you can turn into Hitler/Stalin/Lenin/Mao/Franco/Pot, you’re going to be embarrassed!
    And i can hardly wait until the day when all of your bullshit goes spiralling down the MS toilet.
    YOU, can run, but YOU can’t hide, from YOUR decisions!
    You can try.
    But you won’t be able to.
    You ain’t clever enough by half, to do that.
    You’re a loser.
    And we can tell that you’re a loser, because you don’t want to be openly criticized, you pathetic little orange loser.

    I’d tell you to go and ‘fuck yourself,” but you’d need the dick’s of about a dozen other men, to reach.

  4. If you think I’m kidding about Trump being mentally ill, then try and wrap your mind around the idea that he wants to build up our nuclear arsenal. Maybe it’s me, and my shallow thinking…but to my mind once you’ve reached the ability for mutually assured destruction anything beyond that would seem rather obsessive in a mentally ill sort of way. It’s like he can’t seem get enough power. He’s so desperate to project power that it makes his insecurity shine like a beacon.
    He’s a complete sicko,, but not as sick as those who foolishly put their faith in him.

  5. At this point Trump could burst out singing “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy and it wouldn’t surprise me.

  6. “We the people”
    Need to remain vigilant and protest these infringements on our rights.
    This administration is corrupt; we need to demand an investigation into Trump’s finances and his dealings with Russia!
    Freedom of the press!

  7. The Orange Imbecile digs himself a deeper hole every day. He had no credibility before; hiding like a frightened bunny from the media is NOT a good way to make yourself look innocent. It didn’t work for Nixon and he had at least 60 IQ points on Trump.

  8. Trump is dangerous. He has the ability to incite violence in his base, and his base is armed. His base hates “Liberals”. This could take a VERY bad turn.

  9. We are about to witness whether the new social media is enough to overcome tyranny (at least an infant tyranny).

    May you live in interesting times, indeed!

  10. As Charles Pierce put it,

    You don’t go this far out on a limb because you’re pissed about fake stories. Not even this White House is that stupid. You take this kind of long chance because you believe that there’s something out there that’s worse than being found to be using the FBI to ratfck the New York Times. That’s why old RN [Richard Nixon] said this to Harry Robbins Haldeman on June 23, 1972.

    “That the way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA director] Walters call [FBI director] Pat Gray and just say, “Stay the hell out of this…this is ah, business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” That’s not an unusual development…”
    …This is plainly a White House that has no compunction about asking the federal law enforcement apparatus to run its errands, and to operate as barroom bouncers on call whenever the jefe feels inconvenienced. At least Nixon hired his own investigators when he got pissed at newspaper leaks. These clowns tried to turn the FBI into the Plumbers. It’s going to get really crowded in DC parking garages pretty soon.

  11. You don’t go this far out on a limb because you’re pissed about fake stories. Not even this White House is that stupid.

    That statement is debatable. Trump isn’t governed by reason like a normal person. He’s a prisoner to his own psychosis. Truth or logic have no bearing in Trump’s twisted mind. His ego is so distorted with insecurity that it’s become a hair trigger device that’s capable of sending him off into a crazed posture over any provocation whether real or imagined. He’s sick…He’s escaped the gravitational pull of reality.

  12. Are we ready for a new version of the “Sedition Acts”? John Adams 1790-something. Thomas Jefferson’s administration repealed in 1801 or so. But Adams would lock up the press if they printed something nasty about him. Trump’s beef was that the FBI wasn’t finding the ‘leakers’ talking to the press. People in the FBI and in his own White House are spilling nasty secrets and Trump wants them in jail to shut up everyone else. If that can’t be arranged, he wants to punish (somhow) the media who’s printing those stories. Trump has associated his reputation and “National Security” as if they are one and the same as the excuse for desperate measures. Frankly, I think even this USSC would hand Donald his head on a platter on freedom of the press – Kennedy and Roberts would rule against him. (I know, my opinion.)

    Also – I agree with Pierce – these are the acts of a President who is in panic mode. Did he wake up with a horses head in his bed? (figuratively) WHAT has Trump thrashing isn’t clear. My wild guess is that Trump has committed (and Putin has the proof of) the one unpardonable sin. This is the same sin Madoff committed – I’m guessing Trump cheated people richer than Trump is.

  13. They tried to get the fbi and the republican heads of house and senate committees to back pedal the story and claim there were no contacts. Of course they tripped themselves up. The fury shows you that the FBI knows who had contacts and it will come out. They know they are caught.

  14. Yeah, these latest moves positively reek of sweaty desperation.

    Somebody is getting too close to something that’ll take t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin and his band of not-at-all “merry men’ion”s'” down.
    “No, take your time. I want to enjoy every second of this orange festering pustule on the anus of humanity’s agony and meltdown.
    Oh, “Russia!” Not rush-ya!
    Yeah, I’ll place a bet that whatever is freaking them out, involves Russia.
    Still, rush enough so that t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin can’t set the world aflame before he is gracelessly forced to exit the world stage.
    But, take enough time for those of us who loathe the “man,” to get to enjoy his downfall.

  15. So… could the Times, CNN and Politico sue? And in the meantime, wear this as a badge of honor? Perhaps even to improve their market share?

    Losing access to Spicer is no loss if you’re seeking the truth.

    Yelling ‘find now’ in all-caps is a tell. He’s nervous, and he’s right: how do you stop leaks when the leak-stoppers leak?

    I agree that what Putin has on him has to do with money. The golden showers are in the dossier to get the attention of us plebes.

  16. This is a blessing in disguise. For years, I’ve been hoping that mainstream reporters would wean themselves off of this modern form of access journalism. For years this blog and others has rightly derided them as stenographers rather than reporters. These briefings have always operated like pellet feeders of crap for herd animals anyway. Any self respecting publication would have walked away from them years ago. Guaranteed freedom of access isn’t a constitutional right. If Trump wants to bar the press he doesn’t like, he’s free to do so and he did. Because he is a fascist pig. But like all things Trump, he hasn’t thought this through. As radical as Bannon and company are, it remains to be seen whether they measure up to Haldeman, Erlichman and Mitchell in resolve and competence. The press is now free to nurse their withdrawal from their scheduled regurgitation feedings from the state, become the kind of reporters we all need right now, and actually use the 1st amendment the way it was intended.

  17. These briefings have always operated like pellet feeders of crap for herd animals anyway.
    LMAO…You got that right! 🙂 My hope is that the press goes after Trump with a fury. He’s a arrogant bag of shit who needs to be brought down to size.

  18. Every time he says, “Nobody loves (X) better than me,” he actually loves (X) less than not at all, the way Nobody would.
    So it’s true that Nobody loves (X) better than he does.

  19. Those that were banned should see that act as a stamp of authenticity, being banned by a president who lies as a matter of course, essentially means those that are banned are reporting the facts.

    And hopefully, other news organizations will support those who have been banned, by not attending the gaggle only to being lied to and expected to report those lies straightaway.

  20. Kinda does seem like paranoia. Yes, those outlets make a living out of slamming Bratman just for his being him. But one of them might be on to something bigger then the usual sociopathic faux pax.

  21. Swami: that is the challenge facing the resistance. It’s essential to hang Trump around the neck of every Republican who failed to say “don’t vote for him.”

    “I will not vote for him” is not enough! That Trump would be a disaster was clear from the primaries. That Clinton would have been acceptable – a painful, dreadfully painful, lost opportunity, but the good of the country comes before painful opportunity costs – was also clear to anyone making an honest, competent appraisal, but even “don’t vote for Trump; I won’t ask you to vote for Hillary Clinton but DON’T vote for Trump, PLEASE!” was the minimum acceptable response.

    I know this plain fact will hurt some people who didn’t know Trump and politics and economics very well. But I’m sorry – outreach to Trump voters doesn’t mean denying reality; denial of reality by Trump and the Republicans is what got them in that situation in the first place!

    Trump was lying when he promised the return of coal jobs, steel jobs, and other manufacturing jobs. They’re not coming back, and if he didn’t know this, it’s because he was too stupid to ask.

    Trump is no financial wizard – his bigshot job as CEO of a publicly traded company has all the hallmarks of moving disastrous investments from his balance sheet to a corporate balance sheet to avoid a financial shellacking.

    Trump isn’t a great businessman. Great businessmen in Trump’s position have former contractors saying they’d *love* to have another chance to work for that brilliant SOB (“and that stands for swell old boy, friends!”) again.

    That his solution to ISIS is to “bomb the shit out of them” and sneak attacks (that don’t allow civilians to evacuate) shows he has *zero* understanding of warfare.

    That he wanted to ban Muslims shows he’s a complete idiot; that he thinks the magical works “radical islamic terrorism” would help shows that he believes in magic, which, okay, that’s great when your children are sleeping sweetly on Christmas Eve, the night before Easter, or after losing a tooth, but not when dealing with real-life problems.

    Everyone who was informed could see he was an idiot. It was trivial to say “don’t vote for the vulgar, unethical, idiotic, serial-sexual-assailant.” But they couldn’t be arsed to do even that. They wouldn’t put the good of the nation above their political party even when it was crystal clear that it was the right thing to do, and they didn’t even have the basic cunning to realize that Trump would hurt the party overall.

    That’s one of the reasons people push against “normalizing” Trump.

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