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THE LAST WORD: Trump’s war with the press

By Andrew M. Mwenda

How the new US president is bursting the Washington bubble and annoying the nation’s hypocrites

For many decades, American journalists have deluded themselves into the belief that they are unelected representatives of the people. They are convinced that their profession places them above politics as impartial, altruistic, compassionate and moral human beings – with the responsibility to hold elected officials to account. The politicians accept this media self-aggrandizement and play (and prey) on it. They massage the journalists’ inflated egos, giving them access. Yet in many ways the politicians control these journalists and shape their career trajectories.

Journalists, especially the Washington press corps, depend on leaks for headlines. To cultivate good sources who leak to them vital information, journalists have to treat those in power with care. If they annoy them, they would be cut off from the leaks. Without leaks, the journalist would have limited access to breaking news and headlines. Media in America do not reward journalists for not producing headlines. They fire them. Thus, journalist and politician in America indulge in a game of mutual deceit that one is holding the other to account. Yet they are part of the same power structure.

America’s political system is controlled by big money and its iniquities are reproduced by the very structures of representative government and “free” media. The propertied classes fund the universities and think tanks that produce “knowledge”, they own/control the media that regurgitate this “knowledge” and they fund the campaigns of politicians to gain public office and then lobby them to placate their interests.

Thus, the academic in the university, the intellectual in a think tank, the journalist in the media and the politician in congress or White House or in the governor’s mansion are all servants of this largely white, propertied patriarchal order. Its major instrument of power is not force but consent achieved through control of education and ownership/control of the weapons of mass propaganda. This has consolidated the concept of “American values” which, apparently, they claim Trump is violating. But what actually are these values and how has Trump violated them?

Is it Trump who exterminated Native Americans while the nation enjoyed a free press, regular elections and “impartial” courts? Is it Trump who enslaved black people for 90 years after independence, then kept them under apartheid for another 100 years and now keeps millions of them in jails? Is it Trump who introduced torture but called it “enhanced interrogation methods”, kidnapped people from different nations and took them to illegal detention facilities around the world but called it “rendition” or is it him who has been murdering innocents in countries America has been bombing and calling it “collateral damage?

Is it Trump who created the perception that black people are criminals so much so that when asked to imagine a criminal 96% of Americans see a black male? Wasn’t this campaign of vilification done by the “free media” in service of power long before Trump came on the scene? Is it Trump who consistently projected Muslims as terrorists even though since 9/11 more Americans have died at the hands of local right wing, largely white, terrorist organisations than they have died at the hands of jihadists? Who, other than the American media, propagated this narrative?

3 comments

  1. This is Andrew Mwenda’s most accurate article – though it is biased towards the right wing view.

    It is well written and provides a pretty accurate picture of the United States and the lie that America has always projected to the rest of the world – that “she is the land of the brave and the free”. Americans are neither free nor brave. The illusion of the “American dream” is just that – an illusion.

    Granted, America had made gigantic strides – however, most of the economy is held in the hands of a few white men.

    African Americans, Latinos have been largely locked out if the economy – and continue to be brutalized – (the evidence is all over the Internet – on YouTube).

    The emperor is indeed naked.

  2. The best names in the wold for men are Andrew and Ian.

    The press is both good and bad its good in the sense that they carry out investigative journalism where alot is unearthed.Recently, i read about Leon Lee who received an award from the prestigious Peadody Board. She carried out an investigation on China’s illegal Organ Trade where it was discovered that body parts of prisoners were removed after execution. ,She further revealed that practitioners of Falon Gong in China would have their body organs removed this revelation was followed up by the UN.

    Because of journalists,incidences of Famine,War,Sexual Slavery and voluntary slavery etc have been exposed.

    The press builds and kills people (they have become a terrorist organization) they killed Princess Diana they have deprived the rich and famous of their privacy in USA, every famous family has a reporter whose job is to follow celebrities.just go to any airport in USA journalists sleep on the floor waiting for any celebrity to turn up i am told they track them thru travel bureaus since they have their travel itinerary .

    In this era of financial stress,most media houses thrive on blackmail and extortion it has worked for them coz the wealthy have weakness for women and money.

    I dont know whether its by coincidence or deliberate that all prominent news organizations are owned by rich families e.g Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News,21st Century Fox,Philanthropist George Peabody owns the company that recognizes great journalists back in E.Africa Aga Khan owners the biggest and most successful media house in the region i strongly believe that they have interest in the media coz the media owners know that govt’s are their biggest advertisers and 2ndly they know that they blunder alot so once it a while they are willing to buy off stories that would taint their image.

    Every media mogul in USA supports a specific party so it should not surprise anyone that Trump is haunted by the press

    Trump has made the world believe that USA is a ordinary State with similar economic,social and political challenges His heart is full of courage not anger.

    During inauguration of the USA presidents, the handing over of gold codes/Nuclear football to the imcoming POTUS is a ritual that is carried out in private when one reads such, you can pee in your pants.

  3. This article is full of half truths. To suggest that Trump hasn’t been lying and misrepresenting the truth is to indulge in being his useful fool. The difference between the liberals and the conservatives is that the liberals do not easily acknowledge the wrongs that are being perpetrated on daily basis in America. They put their heads in the sand like the ostrich. The conservative side which includes Trump lie and deceive but when they are caught in the act they brush it aside as if nothing wrong happened. It is their country after all. Trump has been constantly stepping on his message during and after the elections. His tweets are replete with contradictions of himself and his subordinates most people, including American allies, have just become jaded or indifferent to it. A sign that if you keep telling lies over and over again soon or later the opposition gets warn out and relents. You may be mad about the liberal hypocrisy but you wouldn’t buy in to the conservative pernicious propaganda either.

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