Donald Trump told Vanity Fair that he is considering launching his own network TV channel.
Donald Trump has been described as a narcissist, wannabe tyrant, megalomaniac, and a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud, among other things – so many other things.
Trump has a problem with the media. The media write unflattering articles about him, he reads those articles and lashes out, much like a two year-old does when you tell it to stop eating paint. Trump also has a problem with the first amendment. He’s said so during a FOX interview. “We ought to open up the libel laws,” he said, talking about making it easier to sue journalists who write critical things about him.
During a rally in Fort Worth, Texas he addressed a crowd of screeching and screaming fans saying that he was unhappy with certain news reports. He told his minions, “I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. If I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”
And then he said this:
One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do, and we’re certainly leading, is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws so that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.
What Trump most likely is referring to when he says he’s considering “opening up” our libel laws is that, as president, he would overturn a line of landmark Supreme Court decisions dating back to the court’s unanimous 1964 decision in The New York Times v. Sullivan.
Before those cases became law, “defamation lawsuits were governed exclusively by state law, and they were often slanted in favor of plaintiffs, especially rich ones who could afford the steep costs involved. To prevail, plaintiffs only had to establish that they had been defamed by a preponderance of the evidence—the lowest standard of proof in our legal system. As a practical matter, this meant that anyone wishing to criticize the wealthy and the powerful did so at considerable personal risk,” according to an article at Alternet.
Trump has gone so far as to ban reporters and entire news organizations from his rallies and from his campaign. Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, POLITICO, and most recently The Washington Post are among some of the news organizations that have no access to the GOP nominee. This is happening in America. Trump also recently threatened to revoke the FCC license of CNN should he be elected president.
In most countries ruled by dictators in which they control the media, the news, and the information that their population receives, the television stations, internet and radio stations are state run, giving the ruler complete control of the information. Particularly the information about them.
Vanity Fair published an article on June 17th of this year in which they announced that Trump has discussed a “mini-media conglomerate” for the “audience” following his presidential campaign. As the articles author, Sarah Ellison writes:
The breakout media star of 2016 is, inarguably, Donald Trump, who has masterfully—and horrifyingly—demonstrated an aptitude for manipulating the news cycle, gaining billions of dollars worth of free airtime, and dominating coverage on every screen. Now, several people around him are looking for a way to leverage his supporters into a new media platform and cable channel.
Considering Trump’s terrifying fascination with conspiracy theories and his loose grasp of the truth; considering that he recently accused a sitting president of not only sympathizing with terrorists but floated the idea that Obama could be an ISIS sleeper agent plotting the destruction of America from within the White House; considering that when he’s stumped by nearly any reasonable question a reporter asks him, he simply lies or fabricates things, the prospect of Trump TV is incredibly terrifying.
If you thought the likes of Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes were the bane of society, civil discourse, and responsible fact based journalism, this should scare the living crap out of you.
UPDATE, August 23, 2016: And speaking of Roger Ailes, The New Yorker reported last week that “the theory making the rounds is that Trump’s latest campaign reshuffle isn’t really about trying to win the election. In bringing in Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, and recruiting Roger Ailes, the disgraced former head of Fox News, as an adviser, Trump is making a business play: he’s laying the groundwork for a new conservative media empire to challenge Fox.”
The New Yorker goes on to speculate that “We can be assured that a TBN (Trump Breitbart News) Network wouldn’t shy away from the conservative, or even the ‘alt-conservative,’ label. It would be nationalistic, xenophobic, and conspiratorial. If it featured regular appearances by Trump, and if it managed to poach some of the Fox News stars who are friendly toward him, such as Sean Hannity, it might even make money. And that, we all know, is something Trump has always been interested in.”
But as the article’s author, John Cassidy, concludes: “it’s only a conspiracy theory.”