This Is How Tyranny Begins (Robert Reich)

As the faculty advisor to a college journalism program, I am very interested in the relationship between professional journalists and the president-elect. A free press is a cornerstone of democracy. The GOP played the electoral college game better than the DNC, such that Clinton’s popular vote did not match the electoral college outcome. Media pundits who were hopeful for and enamored of Clinton badly underestimated Trump’s popularity in certain states — a blindness which feeds into Trump’s self-proclaimed status as an outsider unfairly maligned by a biased mainstream media establishment.

One of the most valuable duties of a free press is to speak truth to power. That means holding elected officials accountable for their campaign promises, and checking the facts and supplying context for official statements. Journalists are not doing their job if they are not reporting true things that upset the powerful.

The speed with which social media spreads fake tweets that contain the kinds of things Trump’s critics believe he would say actually benefits Trump, because the less the public trusts the media, the more likely the public will accept Trump’s spin on the truth. Democrats and Greens and Libertarians spin too; a healthy media landscape involves fact-checking of all voices, not just the voices from one party.

Nevertheless, Robert Reich’s short overview of Trump’s relationship with the media is worth special attention.