The Trump/CNN Feud Should Disturb Us, But Not For the Reason You Think

trump-cnn-wrestling

I’m not going to insult the intelligence of anyone by claiming that you may have missed this. Let’s face it: it’s plastered everywhere. I’d rather not recount the numerous foolish things President Trump has said about any media that disagrees with him. I think I might crap a brick if I hear “fake news” one more time. From the debacle of the Trump/Brzezinski/Scarborough feud, to Trump and Trump Jr. retweeting memes of slamming/killing CNN in GIFs, this very public strife is pretty much everywhere.

Instead, in all the hyperbolic screaming from media outlets and the non-Presidential things our President says, I’d like to turn attention to something that is truly disturbing and truly worth mentioning in detail: the AT&T-Timer Warner Deal.

CNN is owned by the parent company, Time Warner. Recently, there has been speculation that Trump might threaten the merger of AT&T and Time Warner in retribution for the public feud and commentary. he receives from them. In basic terms, the President would use governmental powers to interfere in free market.

This is, however, nothing new. Unfortunately, government has meddled in the affairs of the public for years. It’s sort of the thorn in the side of almost every Libertarian. The only reason this has recently made such headlines is that it is so public, so personal and (let’s face it) it’s a Republican President.

Now, I’m not a personal supporter of Trump. I will be honest that I was part of the #NeverTrump movement from the moment he announced his candidacy. So, this may seem like another article in the massive deluge of media striking back at President Trump; however, the threatening of this merger should disturb everyone and more so than any GIF, Tweet or other nonsense has yet to do.

If Trump makes good on his threat it is a signal that any pretense of free media is over. Media is power. The ability to criticize publicly is the only true defense a society has against its government, since ideas cannot be killed. But should the President directly or indirectly use the powers of his office to stop a free-market deal, then that’s it. It’s over. The line has been drawn. You can be free ONLY TO THIS EXTENT and after that, you’d better know your place. Or, at least, that’s the message we should all take from it.

At that point, one person is making the decisions for us.

Sure, other media companies might continue the function and let’s face it, CNN isn’t going anywhere no matter what. But media, for better or worse, shouldn’t have to worry about the government making or breaking its deals. Censoring of information, whether you like it or not, is wrong. The only person that should make the decision of what you watch is you.

You have the freedom to change channels, but there’s a problem when the government chooses what you get to listen to. Trump clearly picks winners and losers. I may not be an avid CNN fan (to the point that if I want to hear the weather I have to change channels because it’s not stop Trumpwatch over there) but I can respect the right of the organization to exist and say what it wants to say.

Of course, this has to be an even playing field. People complain about Fox News from the left and how they own the airwaves, but again, I can respect their right to exist and say what they want. Sinclair Broadcast Group, who I doubt many of us have ever heard of, is a conservative media broadcasting network that has recently not been enjoying the spotlight brought by an upsurge of notoriety due to coverage on Last Week Tonight. If a president or government wanted to shut them down, despite the fact I disagree with many of their stances, I would again argue they should still exist unencumbered.

You can criticize a network or bias all you want and I would support you. You threaten to take them down because you don’t like what they say, and then I would immediately stand against you.

Yes, this is another anti-Trump article. Yes, I don’t like him. But the move of the President to interfere in this case is wrong. It should be profoundly disturbing. Living free means living free of any interference. A government should not be making decisions to what people read, listen to or watch. It is the individual who should make such a decision (or in the case of minors, the parents or guardians). Living free means just that: free.

Free thought, free choice, free media.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I think the problem today with the media including this story is speculation is being reported in place of facts.
    If I were to substitute speculation for facts in my journalism class I would fail the class and journalism today is failing the public.
    Gone are the days of in-depth journalism of Woodward and Bernstein.

    Like

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