A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News, 12/6/17 https://www.skyhinews.com/news/muftic-trumps-war-on-press-freedom/
Added January 17, 2018
Net neutrality is also an element of taking away medium freedom. To understand why, https://www.yahoo.com/news/future-net-neutrality-repealed-creeping-203030801.html
Everyday I am grateful for this country. I know that if I lived in Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey or any number of countries in the world ruled by “strong men” or despots, I could could risk my life or freedom by writing this column that often is in opposition to our country’s Leader’s view of the world and issues. Fundamentally important first steps enabling despots to rise to power and their keeping it was their destruction of the freedom of press by degrading, killing, or imprisoning journalists and bankrupting opposition press through manipulation by various means.
If citizens only hear one slant on the news, mind control follows. Having many outlets funded by a variety of owners permits those in a democracy to come to their own conclusions which may even be contrary to the interests of their dear Leader. As those who studied the methods of control of media by despots, know that it happens in steps and slowly until it is too late for any opposition to find a platform. For the sake of our democracy, any tendencies of political leaders to try to destroy press freedom must be recognized and nipped in the bud at the beginning before it is too late.
Especially alarming is Donald Trump’s recent attack on CNN and his stated embrace of only one approved cable news network, FOX News.. Those media outlets who present facts contrary to his pronouncements or criticize him are often called “fake news” . Trump Thanksgiving weekend tweeted to declare that Fox News “is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN,” adding that CNN represents the United States "poorly" to the world. At the same time his Justice Department sued to block a media merger that critics claimed was a move to force the sale of CNN, a frequent target of Trump as the conveyor of “fake news”. At the same time, Trump's appointed Federal Communications Commission enacted rules paving the way for the merger of a pro Trump group, Sinclair Media with Tribune Media . At the same time, his FCC approved rules permitting consolidation of local media outlets, including lifting the rule prohibiting print media to also own TV and radio stations, reducing the variety of news sources and interpretations available to viewers. This was overtly favoring and strengthening the media domination of major markets by his chosen media.
An attempt by the right wing group Veritas to try to trap the Washington Post into demonstrating they were the source of fake news backfired last week as well. An undercover worker tried to sell Post reporters on a story that was fake as a way to bait them into reporting a fake news story to damage their credibility. The problem was that the reporters did their due diligence on the story and discovered the sting operation, only proving that the Post's skills and reporting were even more credible and respected, not less.