Where to begin? Maybe with Trump losing the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. Maybe, with openly racist and anti-Semitic Steve Bannon of Breitbart being named as Trump’s chief strategist. Maybe the Alt-Right conference giving Nazi salutes and yelling “Hail Trump!” or the KKK planning victory celebrations.
Possibly we could start with the hundreds of racist incidents that have been reported in schools and campuses across the country, including students in a school cafeteria in Michigan chanting, “Build the Wall.”
Trump promised to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who opposes Roe v. Wade and opposes raising the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hr). He wants to deport more than 2 million undocumented workers while suspending immigration from “terror-prone regions” a k a his proposed ban on Muslims.
We should take him at his word.
Media workers are also in his cross-hairs. Attacking the press was a big part of his campaign, calling reporters “sleaze,” “failing,” and “third rate,” while keeping a list of news organizations that were banned from his rallies. He’s vowed to weaken libel laws, making it easier to sue reporters and media outlets, and apparently Steve Bannon has a couple of major lawsuits already in the works. At one campaign rally, a Trump supporter wore a shirt that read, “Rope, Tree, Journalist.”
We all can recall that after Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly put some tough questions to Trump during the first Republican presidential debate, he responded with attacks that led to death threats against her. And Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a member of Trump’s transition team, financed the “Hulk Hogan” lawsuit against Gawker, which resulted in Gawker’s bankruptcy. It’s just what Trump has in mind in loosening up libel laws.
According to the NY Times (11/13), “First Amendment lawyers are more immediately concerned with potential leak investigations, as well as Freedom of Information Act requests…” There is good cause for concern, after the Obama administration surpassed all previous administrations combined in investigating journalists and whistle-blowers. We don’t want to see a repeat of the Trump-like Erdogan regime in Turkey, which has jailed over 100 journalists and shut down almost 200 media sites. We should prepare to defend our livelihoods, an open press, and the public’s right to know.
As the Trump/Bannon administration settles in, freelancers and bloggers may be exceptionally vulnerable as “soft targets” without the deep pockets and legal backing of major media outlets. We could be in for the fight of our lives. I urge all who can to attend the Women’s March on Washington, DC on January 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration.