A new poll has found that a large number of Republicans believe that President Donald Trump should have the power to shut down news outlets in some situations.
This means that many members of his party believe the president when he says the press is “the enemy of the people” even though it is the same phrase that was used by dictators like Stalin and Hitler.
As the poll says, “it is clear that the reputation of the news media is under siege” and the president is to blame. But worse than that, the president is not upholding his oath of office, which requires him to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Freedom of the press is in the U.S. Constitution and Trump is attacking it and trying to destroy it instead of protecting and defending it.
According to the new survey, 43 percent of Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Only 36 percent disagreed with that statement.”
“43% of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior”
43% of self-identified Republicans said that they believed "the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior" https://t.co/hC5n2ZTZfK
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 7, 2018
These findings show that journalists are right to be concerned that the president is attacking them. This shows that many people (especially Republicans) don’t trust news outlets and they want to be able to punish them if they disagree with what they report.
The survey also asked if Trump should close down specific outlets, such as CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Disturbingly, nearly one-fourth of Republicans (23%) agreed that he should be able to shut down these bastions of the free press which have been honestly — and critically — reporting on the president’s lies and bad behavior.
This is not a small matter. If these people take control of the government they may want to shut down the free press and let tyrants like Trump take over the government and impose his authoritarian ways.
It is mostly Republicans who have such a negative view of the free press. Forty-eight percent of members of that party said they believe that“the news media is the enemy of the American people.”
Barely one-quarter (28 percent) of Republicans disagreed with that statement.
The reason for the negative views of the media among members of the president’s party is very clear: they don’t like the way he is being portrayed in mainstream news outlets. Nearly 80 percent of them said that they believe that “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly.”
(To be fair, 12 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents also believe that “the news media is the enemy of the American people.”)
It is also clear that Donald Trump and his enablers in Congress, as well as his authoritarian followers, do not respect the U.S. Constitution and think it is getting in the way of their unbridled power. This survey is another indication that we are in the midst of a constitutional crisis and we must remove Donald Trump from office as soon as possible.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.