Donald Trump and his Authoritarian Tendencies

As The Donald Turns
President Trump at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday. (photo courtesy of AP)

Donald Trump Attacks the Media Calling it Fake News!

Donald Trump is known for his attacks on the media, and each time he or someone that he’s close to feels threatened he lashes out at his apparent invisible enemy, the Fake News! Over the past few weeks he has gone on various tirades, and while visiting Poland Trump decided to bash both CNN and NBC. The Polish President, Mr. Duda, runs on a platform of Law & Justice, similar to Trump’s, but last year proposed restricting media access to Parliament. The government ended up backing down because of street protests. By far, the most bizarre Twitter attack on the media was this occurrence, as he re-tweeted a video from a Reddit user, accompanied by the tweet #FraudNewsCNN #FNN

This style of attack is not new but did come on the heels of Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that Donald Trump has never encouraged or incited any form of violence. However, in this video he’s re-tweeted it appears otherwise, as well as at campaign rallies across the country. Politifact also rated Sanders claim as being False, and instead it lists one specific example as clearly being a call to incite violence, “‘If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?'” — that clearly fits the criteria of promoting or encouraging violence.” There were several other, looser variations that seemed to suggest that Donald Trump was comfortable with violence.

Another interesting note is that Donald Trump has a tendency to look upon authoritarian regimes with favor, such as North Korea, Russia, Saudia Arabia, Turkey, and in a strange twist, while on a visit to Saudia Arabia, the Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, made note of the lack of protests there. It seemed that he was ignorant of the fact that protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishable by jail.

Trump’s attacks on the media are one of the hallmarks of an authoritarian regime, as it seeks to bolster its standing with the voter base, while at the same time degrading other sources of information other than itself. According to the Trump Twitter Archive, Donald Trump has tweeted 76 times and counting about the subject of Fake News and its effect on Democracy and the Presidency among other things.

Another hallmark of an authoritarian regime is that it seeks to change normalcy, and may redefine it on a daily basis. People are left asking themselves, “Is this normal?” One of the newer changes has been the traditional White House Press Briefing. The President has had some form of interaction with the Press since William “Fatty” Price is being on record as the first reporter known to visit Grover Cleveland during his tenure, and it was actually Cleveland’s secretary who first began the tradition of press briefings that is continuing to this day. The concerning part of modern day press briefings is that while they have been traditionally on camera, increasingly they are becoming more off camera and only audio feed with a picture. When Sarah Huckabee Sanders does go on camera, she parrots Trump’s statements of Fake News in order to keep the message focused.

Distraction Techniques

A secondary technique with authoritarian regimes is to cause a distraction when something happens that the regime needs the public to turn its focus away from. Unfortunately for the country, there is currently no shortage of distractions. At the current forefront, much to the administration’s dismay is the Trump Russia investigation. This Monday debuted Donald Trump’s Made in America Week. While there is nothing wrong with products and goods being manufactured in this country, the fact that Trump should debut such an event when several of the products that he and his family market are made overseas is hypocritical. Here is a list of products that were made overseas and fact checked by the Washington Post.

It’s important when an authoritarian regime is in place to get news from more than one source. ┬áThat way you can avoid something called tunnel vision, and learn to appreciate viewpoints from the opposite spectrum.



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