Attacks on Press Pose Danger to Journalists, Democracy


By June Speakman

On Aug. 5, Brian Stelter, anchor of CNN’s Reliable Sources, shared with viewers an audiotape of a call to a CSPAN political show in which the caller said that if he ran into Stelter and CNN correspondent Don Lemon, he would “shoot” them.

Earlier in the week, MSNBC’s Katy Tur read an email from a viewer who wrote that he hoped that she “got raped and killed” and signed off as “MAGA” (“Make America Great Again,” President Trump’s campaign slogan). “If anyone in the administration cares about the safety and security of journalists, the health of a free and unintimidated press, and, by extension, our democracy as a whole, please say something to your boss, to your dad, to your Commander-in-Chief before it is too late,” Tur wrote.

These two incidents are not isolated or unusual, but come into bold relief as President Trump hits the campaign trail in his favorite setting — the rally. In Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, the president has been riling up his base with intense attacks on the media. The correspondents in the hall often find the audience, urged on by the President, turning toward them in anger, fists or middle fingers in the air. At these rallies, Trump has taken to referring to the journalists as “the enemy of the people” – a phrase which resonates deeply in American politics, and in a very bad way.

Many of Trump’s close advisers – from his daughter Ivanka (as seen on the Tur video), to Anthony Scaramucci and Kellyanne Conway – have distanced themselves from this characterization and denied that they share it. But they clearly cannot stop their boss (and father) from his rants against the press. Trump will not stop as long as he gets huge cheers from his crowds every time he goes on the attack.

Journalists have been pondering how to respond:

Should they boycott these events? No, it’s their job to cover them.

Should they speak out? In early July, the publisher of the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, had a face-to-face meeting with President Trump to urge him to stop these attacks. “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” Sulzberger said in a statement afterward. “I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

Early in his career, right here in Rhode Island, Sulzberger learned not to be intimidated. As a young intern at the Providence Journal from 2004 to 2006, he discovered that the Narragansett Lions Club did not admit women. The club’s former president warned him that his job – and the Journal’s advertising account with the Lions – were at risk if the story was published. The Journal ran the story anyway, and the club changed its policies a year later.

But thus far, President Trump has not changed his practice of attacking the press.

Perhaps if and when their colleagues on Fox News speak out, the viewer-in-chief will get the message. Fox’s Chris Wallace recently did so softly. Let’s hope this is the beginning of Fox joining the call for moderating the president’s message.

Why does all this matter? As the Lions Club example reveals, public exposure of an injustice can result in positive change. The same goes for presidents. American history is full of instances when press coverage has revealed corruption or other criminal behavior, has shone light on government waste and inefficiency, and has encouraged good behavior by its mere presence.

Every president has an adversarial relationship with the press. Typically, presidents manage this with a communications strategy and a press secretary who presents the president’s perspective to the public through press releases, speeches and other managed messages. They cultivate relationships with reporters by granting interviews or providing scoops, and they strategically withhold or release information.

But never have we seen a president with such overt hostility to the media using his bully pulpit to foment public rage against journalists. This is dangerous for journalists and dangerous for democracy, which relies on those journalists to check the power of the government by providing citizens with information to guide their political decisions.

If American journalists are constrained by fear, fraud and falsehood, we all lose.

June Speakman is a professor of political science at Roger Williams University. This post originally appeared on the university’s First Amendment blog.

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89 thoughts on “Attacks on Press Pose Danger to Journalists, Democracy”

  1. Keith O

    Never in our history has the press been so one-sided and biased against a president and his party.  Most journalists don’t even try to hide their bias anymore, they let it fly.

    1. Eric Gelber

      Accurately reporting on the continual lies, corruption, and destructive policies of an unfit president and his administration may look like bias; but it’s not possible to objectively report on an out of control wild fire without appearing to be biased against the arsonist.

        1. Jim Hoch

          Media hysteria about fire is one of the reasons we have the problems that we do.  Of course the media is biased, but it’s still valuable.

          The bias is in what they choose to cover more than in how they cover it.

  2. John Hobbs

    Fortunately edited Trump edited hasn’t been able to effectively use Fox News, Murdoch’s custom made propaganda machine.

    Unfortunately, the trend towards “civility” in the mainstream media serves edited: Trump very well. While Rush Limbaugh and the kids at Fox were making childishly insipid and untrue allegations against the Clintons and others and regularly making thinly veiled anti-gay and white nationalist messages, “civil” folks like David were laughing at them at parties over their pinot noirs  as “Right-wing nuts”, but wouldn’t  call them out for what they were publicly.

    Attacks on the press pose a real threat to democracy, alright, but so does mealy-mouthed neutered journalism.


    [moderator]: stop calling Trump names. We didn’t allow it with Obama, and we won’t allow it with Trump.

    1. Jerry Waszczuk

      Now we know who is regularly  watching and admiring Fox News and listening  Rush Limbaugh’s  thinly veiled anti-gay and white nationalists propaganda .

  3. Keith O

    Liberals are a funny bunch, it’s okay to have a biased press as long as the fury is pointed at conservatives but the posting of one anti-left political cartoon in the local paper and they go bonkers.

    1. Ross Peabody

      I think the point of this Vanguard article is that the the administration shouldn’t intentionally encourage and code bait its base to commit actual violence or to threaten actual violence.

      An adversarial relationship with the press is not uncommon.  In fact, if it wasn’t there, there’s be plenty of reason to be suspicious.  That being said, this isn’t that.  this is a call to delegitimize anyone that speaks out against policy and action.  often that call is one to violence.  often that call is racialized.  often that call insults, well, I won’t even list how many direct insults it uses.  This isn’t an argument with the press.  This a call for nobody to question what’s happening, to never be called to account, and if that happens, to threaten anyone doing it.  Those threats start with maligning their ability to do their jobs (“fake news”), continue to maligning their person (“all democrats are pedophiles” “that black guy on TV is the stupidest!”) and end with the threat of violence and actual violence.  it’s not how things have always been (“but OBAMA…”), it’s how people that feel uncomfortable sharing their world with other people misuse their power and their bully pulpit.  it’s not acceptable, it’s not normal, and if you think it is, you’re part of the problem

      1. Keith O

        You sound upset because we now have a President who will finally call out the biased press for what it is.  It’s nice to have a President that fights back instead of the years of Bush where he just took it and never fired back.  If you accept a one-sided press you are part of the problem.

        1. Ross Peabody

          That’s actually not my issue at all, anonymous Keith.  I don’t care if he “calls out” whatever he calls out.  the fact is, he isn’t actually calling things out.  he’s haphazardly yelling whatever enters his mind in all directions.  He’s lying.  He’s encouraging people to RAPE AND KILL or at the very least, he refuses to discourage it in any way shape or form.  and you don’t care.  You just care because you’ve been told that he’s “calling things out” – he’s not.  not any more than has been done in the past by people of all party shade.  He’s just doing it more loudly with more bells and whistles and when the clown makes a spectacle, all you folks that didn’t bother paying attention to details in the past follow your dog whistles and shiny objects and leave all critical thought aside.

  4. Keith O

    Ross Peabody, whoever you are:

    all you folks that didn’t bother paying attention to details in the past follow your dog whistles and shiny objects and leave all critical thought aside.

    This is so laughable because this is exactly what all you folks on the left are doing now.  The press has you all whipped up and when they whistle you all come running.  It’s actually pretty pathetic.

  5. Ross Peabody

    ah, yeah.  the old “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense.  Big fan of the classics.  let’s be clear.  I’m well aware of media bias.  It’s as old as the media.  You don’t hear me complaining about it.  See, you’re the one complaining about it.  I don’t need some hopped up reality star telling me there’s bias.  I already know there is. I learned long ago how to read for facts and how to filter out rhetoric, hyperbole and just plain nonsense in order to form an opinion.  I don’t need an insulting failed real estate developer with a twitter feed and no self control to tell me this. We’ll take it one step further:  The politicizing and cultural weaponization of media bias that you so hate and makes you cry loud tears peppered with insults is the end of a process started in the seventies and eighties specifically by your conservative antecedents, prominently Phylis Schlafly and shortly thereafter, Lee Atwater.  It’s no secret, just read their writings.

    I’m not whipped up over bias the press.  I’m perfectly capable of reading the news and critically understanding the filter that it’s being fed through.

    thanks for yet again diverging from the article itself.  as a point of order, do you have an opinion on the article, or just a broad stroke compulsion to “but obama” and “liberals are pathetic” us all into submission by attrition?

    1. Ross Peabody

      Good chat, dude. You can complain about made up psychological issues while the rest of us try to figure out how to keep people from being raped and killed and how we can all live in a more civil and peaceful society.

  6. Jeff M

    There was a time in Germany when any leader that criticized the media would be attacked by those belonging to political movements supported by the media.

    And it eventually the bias reported by the media became a new artificial reality that even the well-educated Germans could not tell from real reality.

    We are about there.

    1. Ross Peabody

      hi, Jeff.  this sounds like an interesting line of thought.  it doesn’t match up to some of what I understand of the history of German media.  Can you kick over some sources, or clarify what period you’re referencing?  I’d genuinely be interested in looking into the reference.

      1. Jeff M

        Here is a slight modification of a paragraph from article on the topic…

        The Propaganda Ministry (Democrat political establishment )aimed further to control the content of news and editorial pages through directives distributed in daily conferences (social media) in (New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles) Berlin and transmitted via the Party propaganda offices to regional or local papers (network media, cable media and mainstream TV media). Detailed guidelines stated what stories could or could not be reported and how to report the news. Journalists or editors who failed to follow these instructions could be fired or, if believed to be acting with intent to harm (the Party, the movement, the ideology) Germany, sent to a concentration camp (social and media purgatory where the mob would make sure they are fired, and harassed). Rather than suppressing news, the (left) Nazi propaganda apparatus instead sought to tightly control its flow and interpretation and to deny access to alternative sources of news.

        1. Ross Peabody

          Oh wait. I get it. You added the parentheses. Sorry. That was unclear. Let me help, cause I think you might be confused. This is a description of government manipulation of media. That’s a bad thing. It’s an abuse of power. The nazis did it but so did (do) many other totalitarian regimes. It’s a method of taking power you have  and consolidating it. It’s bad. It’s also what the present administration would like to do (and is bad at it). This article that we’re in comments section of actually addresses some of the fallout from the administration trying to do what you described. The media isn’t the power player here. Which means your issue and your comparison between Democrats and the nazi party isn’t just insulting, but doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

        2. Ross Peabody

          At risk professionally is VERY different than being sent to a concentration camp. I can’t believe I actually have to say that sentence.

          What are you afraid of?  Neither of us is at risk. What’s that got to do with anything? Is your employment at risk because of your polical opinion? Let me know if I can help.   Seriously. What are you actually trying to say. Pretend I’m five and I don’t get it.

          Also, same question to you as to Jerry below. What single
          Organization is responsible for whatever repression you feel? The government was the answer in your nazi comparison.

        3. Jeff M

          At risk professionally is VERY different than being sent to a concentration camp.

          True, but that comparison is incongruous and a bit intellectually dishonest in that the point in comparison was leading up to that “progressive” response by the current German government authority to control the media narrative.

          What are you afraid of?  Neither of us is at risk. What’s that got to do with anything? Is your employment at risk because of your polical opinion?

          Why I don’t use my full name on the VG as my place of business was threatened by readers that did not like my opinion.  There are copious examples of people’s lives being destroyed because they expressed an opinion outside of the mob’s political correctness identity politics book.

          The American left has grown violent.  They are are an ideological mob that is connected with social media, empowered by the main media and supported by the Democrat political establishment.  Please find me a cite of any predominate Democrat politician opposing BLM or Antifa.  You won’t because their violence serves the greater cause… sound familiar?

          This is the late 1930s Germany.  Thankfully our democratic republic design has thwarted the forward “progress” of that junk.   In fact, it was this “progress” of the left that contributed to the election of Trump.

        4. Ross Peabody

          First, Jeff, you drew the comparison between a professional attack and a concentration camp, not me. if you want to be intellectually honest, be intellectually honest.

          Second, I’m sorry to hear about the threats against you.  I don’t support that and would definitely do whatever I could to make that not happen. I suspect many on the left that you hate so much would agree with me.

          That being said, the government wasn’t threatening you.  You seem to draw a comparison (and not a right one, and not a good one) between “the mob” (I’m leaving out ideology, because what you’re describing exists on some level in all flavors) and the government.

          Much like Jerry, I think you need to revisit the power dynamics here. your insulting comparisons (not even insulting to the left, honestly, mostly insulting to logic) to nazi germany are just kindling with no fire.

          See, if the government had come to your office and threatened you, your comparison may be apt.  Because someone online didn’t like you and made ill advised and inappropriate threats does not rise to that level and believing it does, and advocating as though it does is not only deeply intellectually dishonest, but dangerous.

          Now, interestingly, this brings me back to the article. you seem to advocate against people threatening other people for their views.  As the article states, and I think there’s substance there, we’re seeing death and rape threats against journalists based on exactly that and this administration, not just Trump, at the very least implicitly, condones it.  how can you comfortably complain about getting threats based on your beliefs and then when someone tries to advocate against that and points out that part of the problem is the highest power in the land not trying to tamp the problem that is so close to you down, turn around and call them a Nazi?

          I think you need to seriously revisit your understanding of the power that government has compared to the power of individuals or groups of individuals, because right now, it’s very skewed.

    1. Ross Peabody

      great link.  It’s always helpful to have a double check on sources.  However, I tend to also fall into the camp that bias is not a distinct or complete obstacle to fact.  it’s just a matter of knowing the sources and being able to identify the facts vs the editorial.

      However, I’d also point out that the article itself isn’t about political bias.  What are your feelings about the article and idea that the present sensibility encouraged by the administration is potentially putting folks in jeopardy, of either violence or threat?

      1. Jeff M

        The media can shape public opinion.  Don’t you know people that repeat what they just heard on the nightly news or their FB feed as fact?   And the much of the main media has direct personal connections with the political establishment.

        Have you read “This Town” by Mark Leibovich?

        1. Ross Peabody

          shape public opinion, yes.  change facts, less so.  this is nothing new.  seriously, are you saying that people deserve to threatened because they’re in the media and may be biased?

        2. Tia Will

          much of the main media has direct personal connections with the political establishment.”

          Do you not feel that is equally true on the ubiquitous Fox and the lesser known Breitbart on the right ? President Trump now the “political establishment” in power seems to have a direct link to the former and a looser connection to the latter. He also exemplifies blurring the line between spectacle and reality going so far as to state,” what you are seeing and reading is not what is happening”. Hmmm…



        3. Jeff M

          shape public opinion, yes.  change facts, less so.

          LOL.  Who with an agenda cares about facts when they can shape opinions?

          Just ask Madison Ave. about that.


        4. Ross Peabody

          jeff, it’s the people being “shaped” that should care.  you can’t complain about bias and people not understanding facts and then blame madison avenue.  The facts are more easily accessible now than ever in history.  not understanding them, not doing due diligence, keeping oneself ignorant isn’t the fault of marketers or the government or whatever you want to blame it on.  it’s the fault of the individuals who are happy to lap it up wholesale without thinking about it, redistribute it in their echo chambers and then complain about people doing exactly that.

          it’s not the fault of the media, it’s the fault of the people.  to then turn around and blame somebody else is just being a victim for sympathy.  it’s a shame and a sham.

          and understand, just because YOU have an agenda to push doesn’t mean that everyone does.  that’s simply narcissism and paranoia.  Some of us are interested in ideas being exchanged, believe it or not

        5. Jeff M

          it’s not the fault of the media, it’s the fault of the people.

          This here is evidence of what Haidt discovered:

          We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided.

          The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.

          I find it interesting (hypocritical) that your political cohort would be demanding of never-ending product warnings and restrictions on the free decisions that people can make for themselves because – as your political cohort telegraphs – people are too ignorant to understand the big picture harm they would cause themselves otherwise because of the bias of big business about these things.  Bans are part of the liberal orthodoxy, no?   Educated elites saving the little people from themselves is also part of the liberal orthodoxy, no?

          But here you go making the case that people should just power through the constant waves of fake news with that severe and growing left-biased tilt to get to the truth and the facts so that they can make those intelligent and informed decisions that they cannot seem to make when it comes to plastic bags, plastic straws, sugary sodas and Second Amendment rights.

          Sorry, but your argument here is bunk… obviously self-serving and devoid of relativism and seemingly intellectually dishonest given your obvious intelligence and knowledge.  I also find it dripping with irony relative to the standards of your obvious worldview.

          The lack of political balance in our media harms the overall system and hence harms the people in that system.  People can be manipulated by repetition of a message.  The Nazis.  ISIS.  These are just a couple examples of destructive malice that has exploited this tendency.

          If the media was as severely right-biased you would be howling.

        6. Ross Peabody

          wow.  ok, snowflake.  it’s pitched pretty high, but I’ll try to keep it on topic without dismissing it as outright BS.

          a lot to unpack here:

          using pop culture social science to justify an inability to parse truth from fact is silly.
          comparing the idea of banning asbestos to the idea of dismantling the first amendment is ridiculous.
          you’ve misstated greatly any “orthodoxy” that you believe you’re fighting against.  just assume that my answer to any  statement that you ended in “,no?” is No.

          the rest of what you’ve said isn’t even cogent enough for a response.  i get it, you feel hurt and threatened.  no reason to take it out on the rest of us.

        7. Jeff M

          Good news is that your pseudo intellectualism was easily identifiable and I really never took you seriously as worthy of debate on this topic.  But you are an easy target for posting arguments that others can benefit from.

          Some advice though.  Stick to the topic and stop getting frustrated [edited]. because it resorts to you getting personal.   That breaks the rules on the VG… and we know you are the type that likes your rules.

          [moderator] Please follow your own advice to “stick to the topic.”

        8. Ross Peabody

          that’s cute.  you haven’t bothered to make a single actual argument and you’re unable to back up the cobbled together memes that you seem to believe are real arguments, and then you smugly and insultingly dismiss anyone that’s willing to call you out.

          have a great afternoon, edited sorry you got triggered

          [moderator] edited; no name-calling, please.

        9. Ross Peabody

          On edit: mods: my apologies for the name calling. I should be more sensitive to the fact that Jeff has firsthand experience of being targeted and pilloried for his beliefs and that sometimes that kind of trauma can lead to someone lashing out in hateful and arrogant, even insulting ways. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional or discursive at all and the toxic atmosphere he creates on your blog is purely a side effect of feeling threatened and bullied and not at all because he’s unable to make a salient argument or possibly might want to shout down actual conversation to inflate his own ego.

        10. Jeff M

          Let’s see if you boys can simply post a rational counter without getting all wee weed up and going personal.  Because when someone goes personal it is a pretty clear sign that they don’t have a rational counter.  There are plenty of places you can go for lefty confirmation bias if you cannot stomach opinions outside of your bubble.  Maybe the VG is just too rough for you.

          I have been debating folks on this blog ever since it started about left bias in the media.  It is now well known.  Well researched.  Well documented.  It is scientific.  If I did not know better I would think you both are science deniers.

          You have no choice other than denial or acceptance of this fact.

          And once you accept this fact, then it is reasonable to have different opinions as to the impact to the people.  From my perspective it is plenty sinister.  There are fingerprints all over the Democrat political apparatus that the party and the members of the party have grown entitled to this advantage.  That is why lefties are freaking out that Trump is drawing attention to the problems… because of the risk of the advantage being destroyed.

          I will concede some of your point about people can power through the crap.  There is evidence of this since Trump was elected and the trust in the media is at an all time low.  But you see, Trump wasn’t my candidate.  I would prefer a balanced and honest media so that a candidate like Trump cannot make a campaign out of the dishonest and biased media.

          It is ironic that you and others would jump on the bandwagon to criticize Trump for an opinion that the media is harmful to the people, when the bad behavior of the media likely got Trump elected… and very well might get him re-elected.

  7. Ken A

    Ross may fall into the “bias is not a distinct or complete obstacle to fact”  camp but since bias tends to hide anything good about someone (or some group) people that are exposed to biased media don’t have the “facts” to make good decisions.

    The two sentences below contain “facts” about the guy that will probably be the next governor of California:

    1. He was raised by a single mom and went to public school and started his own business in SF before starting a life in public service where he took courageous stands promoting the rights of the LGTB community.

    2. His Dad is from a prominent SF family and is a close friend of Billionaire Gordon Getty.  Growing up he jetted around the world with with the Getty family in their private jet before attending an expensive private Catholic college.  In his 20’s he lived with Billy Getty in a multi-million dollar Pacific Heights bachelor pad where they did a ton of blow with underage girls.  Gordon Getty hired professionals  to start and run some business and told people that his slacker son Billy and his friend and roommate actually ran them. Getty gave him the money to buy a Pacific Heights mansion with his first wife that he soon divorced and was back to sleeping with under age girls and the guy he called his best friend’s (who was the best man in his wedding) wife.

    No one is perfect and most politicians are FAR from perfect.  In the past we seemed to get a little of the good and the bad, but today we get almost all bad on the right leaning guys from the left leaning press and almost all the bad on the left leaning guys from the right leaning press.

    P.S. It is been over 10 years since I have watched a TV newscast from the right or left and I think I am much better off…

    P.P.S. I still can’t see Jeff’s posts let me know if mailing a $5 donation to the Vanguard will help to unblock him…

    1. Ross Peabody

      I’m not interested in “facts”  – I’m interested in facts.  Things that are verifiable or believable with some basis of evidentiary or citable information.

      In a world with so much information, there’s no excuse to not be able to find the actual facts from a list of “facts”

      In short, I don’t see the point you’re trying to make beyond what I said – understand your source, do your research and actual facts tend to make themselves apparent.

      PS – I probably dislike gavin newsom more than you do, but likely for very different reasons.  That still isn’t a reason to repeat unfounded claims about illegal behavior in order to make your…”point”

      So – what do you think about the content of the article?

      1. Ken A

        I have actually hung out with Gavin Newsom and think he is a nice guy and don’t have a problem with him drinking with hot 19 year olds when he was in his 20’s because other than a single super conservative LDS guy I know everyone was drinking with hot 19 year olds in their 20’s.  I do have a problem with the “best friend’s” wife thing and by our 30’s most of the guys I new could find a girl over 21 to date…

        1. Ross Peabody

          I’m sure he’s plenty nice.

          he’s also a climber and a consummate politician, and this, I’m guessing, is a distrust, in general, that both of us share.

  8. Alan Miller

    all you folks that didn’t bother paying attention to details in the past follow your dog whistles and shiny objects and leave all critical thought aside.


    This is so laughable because this is exactly what all you folks on the left are doing now . . .   It’s actually pretty pathetic.

    Actually, the right and the left are both devoid of critical thinking and are pathetic.   The sane take each issue on its own merits and ignore dogma.

    1. Howard P


      Love the bumper sticker, “My karma ran over your dogma” … in CA, at least, the middle, who often show up as “no party preference” in registrations to vote, is the fastest growing “party” in the state… ‘we shall overcome!’

      Hopefully the sane shall inherit the earth… if not, the species may go extinct…

      1. Ross Peabody

        So, I guess the “sane,” “critical thinking” response to a question or comment is to ignore the topic at hand completely and smugly launch veiled ad hominum attacks at the people expressing those opinions without actually divulging yours?  Way to make sure you stay superior, fellas.

        any actual opinions about the article to express?

        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          Article is just another anti-Trump article . What do you expect to read on  DV about Trump ?  We love you Donald and Make America Great Again ?   Today the   free press   is   Facebook and Tweeter . Bottom line is that Donald Trump is US President and he wad  trashed and accused of the  crimes he never committed by the “free fake news press ”  before he became  president . He is getting even now .  I still like Seth Mayers  and his ” A Closer  Look ”

          Trump Meets Kim Jong-un: A Closer Look



        2. Ross Peabody

          jerry – I asked about your opinion of the content of the article.  what do you disagree with?  you’ve just now dismissed the article entirely because of where you’re reading it.  if that’s the case, why even come to this site?

          also, facebook and twitter aren’t the press – they’re people talking to each other and companies trying to sell you things.

          also, seriously, do you want to support the actions of a president that acts based on “getting even”?


        3. Jerry Waszczuk

          Is nothing to disagree or agree in this article if the article is  about pointing middle finger at   President Trump . Fake news and bad press  and  some pseudo – journalists  are the enemy of the people . I lived in the country where  press was controlled in 95 % by the  one establishment . USA  is not much  different today and is akin closely to the Germany before Hitler ceased the power  and  we know the  rest of the   from the  history .  Trump is under constant siege from press  associated with   far left  agenda.  Far left folks in America are  not socialists or communists . They are national -socialists of all colors .  .  The ” liberals” is very misleading word to the people in USA .

        4. Ross Peabody

          Jerry, out of curiosity, what is the “one establishment” that is controlling the press in the US right now?  What exactly is the single source of control that concerns you?

        5. Jeff M

          “liberals” is a very misleading word to people in the US.”

          Not classic liberalism.  Neoliberalism… which is a bridge to collectivism.

          People will always organize into hierarchies. US conservatives value capialism and in general, organize the enterprising and productive stationed at higher power levels. Collectivism in all its forms organizes the bureaucratic and strict at higher levels. Liberalism is the bridge to get from the system organized based on enterprise and production to one organized by strict bureaucratic control.  In that way US liberals are more like Communists.

        6. Jerry Waszczuk

          Not the enemy of the people’: 70 news organizations will blast Trump’s attack on the media


          Ross ‘ 70 news organization . I don’t know if President  Trump has  chance to survive the ”  enemies of the people ‘ attack and  their  siege  but he will not go away and he will fight back. He is the  President of the United States of America not Kenya ,  China or North Korea .

        7. Ross Peabody

          Jerry – I think you misunderstand the power dynamics at play here.

          You’re concern for Trump’s well being is, I’m sure, very tender and sweet, but he has nothing to worry about. He’ll be just fine, I assure you.

          We are, after all, talking about the most powerful man in the world, a man that could start planet ending war on a whim, the man that singlehandedly can pull the levers of power to decimate or completely reimagine global trade and the well being of billions.  Yeah, I don’t think 70 editorial writers are a threat.

          to the point, though – in your previous response, you mentioned the press in your country controlled by “one establishment” – in this scenario in the US right now, what is that “one establishment” that would concern you so?

          Now, the 70 opinion writers – contrary to your belief, Trump is not fighting for survival, literal or otherwise. Also, they’re 70 different voices in 70 different and disparate institutions. There’s no evident single power pulling these strings.

          These writers, the press in general, are at odds with Trump in many cases, but are not trying to “take him down”.  They are seeing what they consider an existential threat to their occupation, which happens to be an important, constitutionally protected part of our country and speaking out about it.

          They are seeing the words of the most powerful man in the world being used to threaten their lives, and they choose to say something.  Just like any of us would I think.

          Is your argument that there should be no press?

          and this:

          He is the  President of the United States of America not Kenya ,  China or North Korea .

          Are you saying that these leaders don’t “fight back”?  Of course they don’t.  These are totalitarian regimes where one establishment controls 95% of the press.  Their fight is already done.  they won.  there’s nothing to fight.  You realize that this is Trump’s ideal scenario, right?  To have a press that doesn’t question him is a dream for him. This is why your support on this confuses me.  On the one hand, you seem to say that a free press is important and on the other, you seem to say that they shouldn’t exist, or that they’re being controlled by some single monolithic entity that you won’t name.

          you can’t have it both ways.  should there be a free press?  If yes, but you think they’re orchestrating some dangerous opinion writers coup against the president, please tell me what this entity controlling them is?

          Also, thanks – this is about as close to the topic of the article that we’ve managed to get in the last 24 hours

        8. Jerry Waszczuk


          Donald Trump is the first American President  who  noticed  and openly stated  with out any  hesitation that he won’t tolerate  fake news and smears to delegitimize him . I am living in USA since 1982 and  I never imagined that I would experience  and witness a  massive type “Goebbels ” or Soviet “Prawda ” type  propaganda aimed totally  against elected President of the United Sates even before he was elected . Democratic Party which was a good party was hijacked  by  very destructive to the country elements . Republican Party has some extreme elements but number of  extreme elements in Republican Party is marginal in comparison to Dems .  Today Dems  Party having  control over the 90 % of the  press thus is akin very closely to national -socialist party . In the past Dems were associated  very closely  with KKK .

        9. Ross Peabody

          Jerry, I need you to bring the receipts on everything you’re saying here, because it’s just wrong and not based in fact and it’s not my job to make your argument for you.

          In a world where Sinclair Media has a 38% market penetration and the Democratic party can’t even organize itself, let alone a multi platform international press consipiracy, I need you to show that you’re basing it in some sort of fact, because this just isn’t.  at all.

  9. Ron

    Ross: “So, I guess the “sane,” “critical thinking” response to a question or comment is to ignore the topic at hand completely and smugly launch veiled ad hominum attacks at the people expressing those opinions without actually divulging yours?  Way to make sure you stay superior, fellas.”

    I haven’t read this article (or even all of the comments). However, I find this comment to be both impressive and (unfortunately) accurate regarding a lot of interactions on the Vanguard.

  10. Ken A

    I wonder if David has thought about a new ad campaign for the Vanguard:

    “Come for the left leaning spin, stay for the veiled ad hominem attacks in the comments section”…

    1. Ron

      I like it, but would modify it to include the Vanguard’s relentless advocacy for more development.

      Land use/development issues are probably the most important issues that are dealt with, locally. Therefore, I’ve never seen much point in discussing other issues, such as national politics on this blog.  However, I will say that I’ve never witnessed anything like the purposeful divisiveness of the Trump presidency.  I don’t recall this with other Republican (or Democratic) presidents.  Trump is an anomaly. However, that approach is also what caused him to be elected. (That, and the structure of the electoral college.)


  11. Tia Will

    People will always organize into hierarchies”

    This is simply inaccurate. There are a number of societies that are organized around a principle of equality where the decision making rests in the hands of the elders with input from those who have successfully transitioned from childhood to adulthood through what ever rights of passage have been established. In these societies resources are frequently allocated so as to provide enough for everyone while reserving marginally more for those who provide more, so that the whole group will benefit from any excess. Hierarchical structure is a choice we make, not an inherently human trait as you repeatedly put forward as fact.

    1. Jim Hoch

      “decision making rests in the hands of the elders” That is a classic hierarchy based on seniority.

      “Social groups across species rapidly self-organize into hierarchies, where members vary in their level of power, influence, skill, or dominance.”

      “provide enough for everyone while reserving marginally more for those who provide more”

      Sounds like a new age retrospective fantasy, like “peaceful warrior”. In reality groups push useless or disruptive people out of the group and use the threat of exile to enforce social hierarchy.

  12. Alan Miller

    In reality groups push useless or disruptive people out of the group and use the threat of exile to enforce social hierarchy.

    This happened to a few people who used to be part of the Vanguard Commenters Group.  Others (many, many more) self-exiled.

      1. Ron

        Jim:  ” . . . the remaining females.”

        Other than Tia (and perhaps a few others who might occasionally make the mistake of commenting on here), who are you referring to?  🙂


  13. Jeff M

    “People will always organize into hierarchies”

    This is simply inaccurate.

    Well here is one of those 180 degree differences in view that keep me coming back to chat.

    Take 50 people and plop them down on an uninhabited island without outside communication and without any chance for rescue.

    And you say they will not eventually organize into a hierarchy.

    You say they will form a cooperative commune.

    So who will organize all these 50 people into a cooperative commune?  Who will encourage them to give up their selfish wants for the greater good of the collective?  And what if one leaves the collective and becomes very successful making a boat and fishing around the island.  Say he starts selling his excess fish to the rest of the collective.  He becomes wealthy by island standards but the collective eats better than it would have otherwise.

    Doesn’t that expert fisherman potentially move up in influence having such control over the food supply?

    Or does the one that influenced the other 49 to be part of a collective still have the top power?

    Of course these questions are rhetorical.  Of course humans naturally organize into hierarchies.  We are predictors like wolves, hyenas and lions.  Unfortunately for your dreams of an egalitarian utopia, people are born with different capabilities.  Just like NBA players will differ in their capabilities.  Lebron and Currey are on-top of their hierarchies because they are better at “fishing” (metaphorically).

    By the way… MDs sit pretty high up on the American hierarchy.   How does it feel up there looking down on all us less capable humanoids?

    1. Ron

      “Say he starts selling his excess fish to the rest of the collective.”

      Hopefully, they brought some money with them to purchase that fish.  (Although I’m not sure what good that does on an island, with no chance of rescue – per your example.)  🙂

      Pretty sure that I understand your larger point, however. Just couldn’t resist.

      1. Ron

        Hey – did “Mr. Howell” (from Gilligan’s Island) have more influence than the other castaways?

        (Yeah, I’m embarrassed that I know who Mr. Howell is.)

        I’m starting to enjoy my own comments, at this point. Probably a sign that I’ve descended into absurdity, on a topic that I’m not particularly involved with.

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