2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Inaugurations

  1. Post Script: It has been fascinating to see how Trump and his minions have been so vociferous in assaulting the media. “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods,” Chuck Todd tells Pres. Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway this morning on Meet the Press. “How Kellyanne Conway ushered in the era of ‘alternative facts’” – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/22/how-kellyanne-conway-ushered-in-the-era-of-alternative-facts/ – “CHUCK TODD: –Then explain, you did not answer the question, why did the president send out his press secretary, who’s not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump. He could be– He also serves as the spokesperson for all of America at times. He speaks for all of the country at times. Why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood? It’s a small thing. But the first time he confronts the public it’s a falsehood?”

    It’s clear that Trump and his spokespeople have taken a page from the totalitarian playbook on how to manipulate and marginalize the press so they can present the administration’s version of the “facts” as being just as legitimate (or more so) than what is reported in the press. What worries me is how effective this agenda can be at cowering the news media.

    Hopefully, the American people are familiar with Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement, “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” Like his contemporaries, Jefferson believed that truth would win in a free marketplace of ideas. “Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe,” he said in 1816. Leaders should follow public opinion as reflected in the press. “The only security of all is in a free press,” he wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette in 1823. “The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”

    It would be a great story if it ended there. As President, Jefferson had been viciously attacked in the opposition press of his day. It is understandable that these (mostly baseless) personal assaults soured him on a free press. “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,” he wrote in 1807. “Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.” Jefferson was angry about how he was unjustly attacked. “Our printers raven on the agonies of their victims, as wolves do on the blood of the lamb,” he wrote to fellow Virginian and future president James Monroe in 1811. Five years later, he wrote: “I rarely think them [newspapers] worth reading, and almost never worth notice.” (Quotes from “Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government.” Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive, University of Virgina Library/Electronic Text Center, accessible at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1600.htm.)

    Maybe Trump and his people have decided that the best way to advance their agenda is to delegitimize the press knowing this will muddy the waters by preventing the news media from being able to focus on all of the ethical, moral and criminal practices by Trump, his administration and his enablers in Congress. How will the current corporate media outlets (besides the GOP propaganda outlet, Fox News) respond to having their role as government watchdog challenged by the Trump administration? Will they become lapdogs to gain access and favor with the Trump administration? Will we have our generation’s version of Edward Murrow step up to openly challenge the Trump administration with the facts and hold them accountable? Stay tuned…


  2. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    Spicer will remain quite busy addressing every perceived slight towards The Donald. Poor Trump’s ego is so fragile, he can’t tolerate any criticism without lashing out in anger. Not exactly Presidential material.


Comments are closed.