“We have so many people that want to go in so we’ll have to just have to pick the people to go into the room..."
-- Donald Trump [R-Trump Towers] on choosing what journalists he'll allow into press conferences
On the one hand, it's so nice to follow the bouncing Trump as he heads down the Yellow Brick Road towards fascism. He's not there yet, only making it thus far to the level of autocrat.
On the other hand, this isn't as big a threat as it seems, given that it presupposes that Trump will be holding press conferences. (The next step as we move past mere autocracy...)
Yes, it's a pretty hellacious position to take for a president. Egomaniacal as it is, though, it misses a larger point that differentiates the United States from, say, Russia, to pick a random role model. It's that we actually do have a press, not just a state-run press, and there remain many outlets for covering not only press conferences, but the news. And we also, almost more importantly, have a two-party system where opponents are more than thrilled to tell "banned" reporters their side of the news. And since these reporters aren't allowed in the press conference (whenever it may occur or not), that's the only side that will be presented. Moreover, we know from long history that people in the White House and anywhere in power just looooove to show their importance, which is how leaks occur. And finally, there are plenty of reporters who are friends with one another who will likely be happy to be dogged and ask the questions that their friends aren't being let in to ask.
Not that Trump will answer pretty much anything honestly. Or at all.
It's also not likely that Trump will "ban" any reporters from the White House, most especially substantive, national publications or broadcast outlets. He may, but it not only won't likely last even if he does, and if for some reason he does try it and does try to make it stick, I do think this is one more thing that will help keep push his plummeting approval rating down even lower, currently at 37% down from a bit over 50% right after the election. Yes, there are diehard Trump Supporters who will love it. But that core number is low -- hence the 37% approval rating during his Honeymoon Period. Most people in the U.S., who actually do love and fully support and wave the flag for freedom, and do support freedom of the press, even if they don't always like the press, and do fully support the First Amendment, and do love to see their politicians grilled and held to accountability because they dislike politicians even more than the press, will be outraged by any effort to make this sort of repressive action a Trump policy.
It's just one more hateful, galling, pathetic, frightened, petulant, egomaniacal, insecure, autocratic thing that is just So Trump.
The man is at 37% approval in his honeymoon period, for goodness sake. And he hasn't even started yet. Nothing he's said or done has had any real, actual impact. He's just a public citizen. And that changes on Friday. That's when the Pottery Barn Rule kicks in. You break it, you own it.
And he starts at 37% approval.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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