Donald Trump intimidates and co-opts journalists to ensure positive coverage, though he is not the only one who has used this tactic to great effect. Ever since nations first formed, manipulating the thoughts and feelings of the masses has been an important objective for dictators in particular.
When The Propaganda Becomes “Anything Negative Is Fake”
Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
“By claiming the problem is that the news is ‘false’ rather than that it is journalists being insufficiently deferential to the interests of those in power, a regime is able to claim that the real problem is the journalists’ unprofessionalism rather than its own intolerance for dissent.” —Amanda Taub, Vox.com
The media’s purpose is to hold the government accountable and keep the public aware. Without freedom of the press, citizens only receive information the government wants us to hear.
“Controlling information and controlling dissent are part of what goes into maintaining a totalitarian state,” —Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University
Not Worried Yet?
- Hitler censored or eliminated all viewpoints that were in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime.
- The Russian media was only allowed to portray Stalin in a good light.
- North Koreans were bombarded with flattering reports about Kim Jong-il and his daily agenda.
- Saddam Hussein used every means to control the press and silence dissenting voices.
- Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi imposed steep fines on the media for spreading “false” reports.
- In Robert Mugabe‘s Zimbabwe, there’s no journalism. It’s straight up propaganda.
- Mao Zedong’s strict censorship of the media kept the people in China from rebelling.
- Benito Mussolini’s used “certified journalists” to subjugate the Italian people.
- Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge executed anyone who did not conform to their ideals.
History has a tendency to repeat itself, and Trump is well on his way to infamy.
Featured image from YouTube video.