Fox News is the new American Pravda.
The idea of state run media has been a necessary method of messaging for authoritarian regimes, and Trump is adopting the idea that he, alone, controls the media.
Recently, in Europe, Trump refused a question from a CNN reporter, calling it “fake news” and moved to a Fox reporter, which was a “real news” organization. That type of direct assault on media is a unique feature of the Trump Presidency….and it is dangerous.
Trump found early on that he could rile up his base with a simple taunting of the media that covered his rallies. The approving response has made it a regular routine of his “rallies”. But even worse than this is the movement towards Fox News as a preferred outlet, at the expense of all others. In Europe, Trump gave two exclusive interviews to Fox reporters and set up another exclusive for Bret Baier of Fox, with Putin. Piers Morgan, a British tabloid journalist also got an interview with Trump, but he has been cozying up to Trump for years and has a similar style of journalism to Fox.
Authoritarian regimes need state run media. It is how they filter the truth and send it to their minions in a very sanitized form. Trump hasn’t been able to make Fox the sole news outlet, but it is not from lack of trying. Shutting out other media services and denigrating their reporters will alter the ratings and lead to corporate losses monetarily from sheer lack of access. Eventually, Trump hopes to make Fox News an exclusive outlet for all things Trumpian.
In a democratic society, this cannot be allowed. Other news services need to fight back. Recently, NBC and CNN hinted that they would no longer do full coverage of the Trump “rallies”, because they lack substantive news to report. Which is very true, but without the coverage, Fox News will get much bigger ratings and profit from the exclusivity. If Fox was an actual real news organization, they would join the other networks in reducing the coverage, but I doubt they will let that happen. Trump is their meal ticket and they play right into his hands.
News media need to play a questioning role, (if not adversarial), in government. They need to provide that filter for government statements meant to give information from their own viewpoint. When media, instead, acts as the megaphone for government information, in an unfiltered way, it is complicit in government actions of control.
It is nothing short of ironic that conservatives seem OK with government control. What good are all those guns for protection if they succumb to Orwellian tactics of control?
Trump wants the news to always agree with what he does. He wants favorable press. He wants a public that fawns over him. Anything short of that is “bad reporting” and “fake news”.
Media in this day and age is far from perfect – but they are all that stands between realized dictatorial powers and a free society.