Do President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon Believe in Our Democracy?

Do President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon Believe in Our Democracy? January 26, 2017

SteveBannonSteve Bannon is a right-wing journalist who ran Brietbart News until last summer. He then joined the Donald Trump campaign for the U.S. presidency. Before that, Mr. Bannon served as a naval officer for seven years. Then he was an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. He then became involved in the Hollywood film industry, producing 18 films.

Steve Bannon is now the senior advisor to President Donald Trump. Even though Mr. Bannon has worked in the news media that last few years, he reportedly does not give many interviews. In a telephone interview yesterday, Bannon said, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” He added, “I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country.” Bannon also asserted, “The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work.” Mr. Bannon cited the New York Times and the Washington Post as the two primary culprits. (I think those are the two best newspapers in the land.) Mr. Bannon also said, “The New York Times should be absolutely ashamed and humiliated.”

In saying all of this, Steve Bannon is merely extending President Trump’s line against the news media that he repeatedly made during his political campaign for the presidency. He constantly alleged that the media is “dishonest,” further stating that journalists are some of the “most dishonest people.” Just last week, Trump said U.S. newspaper journalists “are among the most dishonest people on earth.” Folks, that is chilling!

Those statements by Bannon, such as telling the press to “shut up,” reflect a belief in some other form of government, certainly a more authoritarian one, than our democratic system with its freedom of press as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Its First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” To abridge free speech means to restrict a person’s right to speak his or her mind freely and publicly.

I’ve been a newspaper guy all my adult life. I believe very strongly in the freedom of the press, which is now called the news media. I think newspaper journalists and editors are some of the best people we have in this country. Having been a professional golfer on the PGA Tour fulltime for thirty years, I’ve personally known many of them. And regarding the media’s reporting of facts, I’ve already posted about that. Newspapers go out of their way to try to get the facts right. Most even have a Corrections section everyday in which they correct something they published the previous day. When that happens, most of the time it is merely a honest mistake.

Donald Trump has been our president less than a week, and he and his most trusted advisor are saying things like this. I think this kind of talk bodes ill for the future of the USA. That is not going to work. President Trump and the country will be the loser if he and Bannon keep up this rant against the news media. It will divide the country even more. Trump needs to try to unify the country, and he’s not doing it. Unless these two change their tone, which appears very unlikely, our only institution that can put a stop to such nonsense is the U.S. Congress.

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