Karl Marx gave some interesting advice to his activist followers: “Accuse your enemy of what you are doing, as you are doing it to create confusion.” These words certainly ring true today when you see leftists portray President Trump as an enemy of the free press. They have compared the president to a dictator cracking down on journalists who report negative stories about him.
However, it is not difficult to see that the left has threatened freedom of the press far more vigorously than Trump or his supporters have. Indeed, it seems these individuals on the American left are attempting to “create confusion” by accusing conservatives of the same behavior in which they engage every day.
Threatening The First Amendment
Many prominent leftists have castigated President Trump for calling the press the “enemy of the people.” Self-loving journalists like CNN’s Jim Acosta have whined incessantly about the president’s animus towards the media. Recently, more than 200 publications launched a joint rebuttal to the president’s words.
These news outlets published editorials that slammed Trump for his criticism of the press. The organization that coordinated the media’s response, The Boston Globe, wrote: “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries.”
President Trump referring to the press as the “enemy of the people” maybe have been ill-advised, but it is obvious that he was referring to news outlets that routinely publish false or misleading stories designed to smear his administration. Indeed, the media’s bias against the president and conservatives has intensified since the days of the 2016 campaign. From falsely reporting that Trump removed Martin Luther King Jr.’s bust from the oval office to claiming that former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci had ties to the Russian government, the media has used its platform to put out a number of unfair and deceptive attacks on the president.
Put simply, the left claims that President Trump is threatening freedom of the press because he says mean things about them. But they conveniently ignore their own misdeeds when it comes to attacking journalists they don’t like.
President Obama’s Actions Against Journalists
While the left would have you believe that Trump is out of line when he attacks the media, they forget about the blatant hostility that President Obama showed towards members of the press during his time in office. The Department of Justice under Obama threatened journalists with imprisonment, used the Espionage Act to prosecute individuals, and conducted surveillance on members of the press in order to curtail leaks.
The Justice Department went after Fox News reporter James Rosen because of a leak regarding North Korea’s nuclear program. They labeled Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in the case. It was part of an investigation to root out individuals who were leaking information to the press. Rosen’s trips to and from the State Department were tracked a warrant was issued for his personal emails.
During the investigation, law enforcement also seized phone and email records of Ali Watkins, a reporter for The New York Times. James Risen, another New York Times reporter, was pressured to testify about a confidential source related to the investigation, who turned out to be former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.
Let’s get this straight: President Obama spied on journalists, seized their personal emails, and threatened them with prison. But Trump says nasty things about the biased media, so apparently, he is the bigger threat to the First Amendment.
The Left Targets Conservative News Outlets
It is no secret that leftist-owned media outlets consistently take action against conservatives online. Social media companies Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have engaged in efforts to stifle right-wing views and news stories on their platforms. Google has also been caught minimizing conservative news outlets in search engine results.
Recently, YouTube, Apple, and Facebook removed videos published by right-leaning news site InfoWars. Paul Joseph Watson, an InfoWars reporter, lashed out at the left on Twitter for their censorious practices:
“The only press outlets under attack are independent media – under attack from the very same blue check marks & mainstream corporate networks whining about press freedoms.
The sheer audacity of their hypocrisy.”
It’s worth pointing out that conservatives have had success in using alternative media to bypass the left-wing narrative of establishment media outlets like The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, ABC, and many others. While right-leaning views are typically suppressed by these companies, they have thrived on the internet. It is only natural that the cultural totalitarianism of the left would be loath to stomach such a strident subversion of their cultural dominance.
But Donald Trump calls CNN “fake news,” so he is obviously much worse, right?
The Left Is The True Enemy Of Journalism
Each and every time a leftist castigates the president for his verbal attacks against the press, they are exhibiting the type of hypocrisy that brings to mind the pot and the kettle. They all but ignore President Obama’s actions against the press and have nothing to say about left-leaning companies censoring conservative speech.
Put simply, the president launches verbal tirades against the left-wing media’s deceptive reporting, but the left goes far beyond words. Indeed, they have shown they are willing to take aggressive action against journalistic outlets that express anti-left sentiments.
If President Trump truly wanted to target the press, he could take a lesson or two from the left, who constantly find new ways to repress independent conservative news sites. Silencing dissent instead of engaging in debate is in the left’s ideological DNA – it is the same behavior that communist dictators embrace to maintain their power. If they want to identify the true enemy of free speech, they need only to look in the mirror.