Tinpot Administration Is Apparently 'Building Dossiers' On Journalists Who Criticize Trump

from the referred-to-the-House-Committee-on-Unamerican-Activities dept

President Trump openly admires authoritarians. It appears he believes he was being elected dictator rather than president, and has been openly bitter about his perceived lack of power ever since. The world leaders he enjoys talking to most — Vladimir Putin, Mohammad bin Salman, Recep Erdogan — are all notorious thugs who punish critics, dissidents, and anyone else who steps a little out of line.

Trump envies that power. He spends most of his phone time trying to impress a collection of international asshats. And he embarrasses himself (and us by proxy) when speaking about his favorite shitheels in public. Just recently, Trump spent part of his meeting with an American pastor recently freed from a Turkish prison praising the man who had put him there.

“I have to say that, to me, President Erdoğan was very good,” Trump told [jailed pastor Andrew] Brunson. “And I know they had you scheduled for a long time, and you were a very innocent person, and he ultimately, after we had a few conversations, he agreed. So we appreciate that, and we appreciate the people of Turkey.”

Like Erdogan, Trump appreciates at least one person in Turkey: Recep Erdogan. Those two are aligned there. They’re also aligned in their desire to punish their critics, even as they preside over countries that have enshrined free speech and freedom of the press. (Yes, even Turkey has a Constitution that name-checks freedom of expression. It has been ignored for decades.)

In Turkey, this hallowed right has been hollowed out, moving Turkey to the top of the “Most Journalists Jailed” list. Here in the United States, we’re not quite up to jailing journalists. But we are placing them under surveillance. And in the latest free speech chilling news emerging from the Trump administration, the White House is building an “ENEMIES” list filled with journalists.

In a statement, White House spokesperson Judd Deere accused The Washington Post of “blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization” and demanded “it must stop.”

“Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people,” Deere said.

This was unveiled in Farenthold’s latest piece for the Washington Post, exposing the funneling of federal tax dollars to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and other properties — places where the president spends an inordinate amount of time. According to Farenthold’s report, at least $900,000 in taxpayer funds have been spent at Trump businesses, much of it for the Secret Service agents who must accompany Trump wherever he goes. Trump heads to his own properties when away from the White House. And he does this frequently: 271 times since he took office, according to this report. It’s a wonder the price tag isn’t even higher, considering the Trump Organization tacks on things like daily “resort fees” and $1,300 “furniture removal charges” to the bills taxpayers are footing,

The White House — which should be fully separated from Trump’s personal business ventures (as Trump promised to do shortly after being elected) — is targeting journalists for digging into the Trump Organization and its federal “guests.” It’s not a jailing but it’s a still a threat — one that seems completely out of place in the Land of the Free where speaking about political issues is at the top of the list of things protected by the First Amendment.

It appears Trump regrets taking the top job in a nation that shields his worst enemies from government censorship and prosecution. But there’s nothing preventing him from making them miserable. And when you’re someone who appears indifferent to everything — including bad optics — why not compile a bunch of info White House officials can hate read whenever they feel “oppressed” by the people they serve.

Filed Under: , , , , , , ,
Companies: washington post

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Tinpot Administration Is Apparently 'Building Dossiers' On Journalists Who Criticize Trump”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
36 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

"I have to say that, to me, President Erdoğan was very good"

Which, of course, is all that matters. The suffering of the man he’s addressing is secondary to his own ego being stroked.

I wish I could say it’s the dumbest thing he’s said recently, but him claiming to have spoken to Jacob Blake’s family pastor (to which the family responded "we don’t have a pastor"), and talking in glowing terms about a man who just killed 2 people are only the tip of the things he’s said this week alone.

Anonymous Coward says:

How far is he willing to go with his attempt at silencing critics? He has already claimed that several critics should be put in jail, for things he thinks are illegal.

Is this a police state? I guess that depends upon ones definition.

I hope there are not too many people out there that want to live in a police state.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I hope there are not too many people out there that want to live in a police state."

I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. There are many people out there actively rooting to do just that, under the delusion that they will be the oppressors when that happens. Hopefully, enough people will vote against them in November.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: how far

Even assuming that was true about Obama going after individual journalists(which would also be bad, so unless you’re hypocritically going after Obama for what you’re giving Trump a pass for…), I don’t seem to recall Obama openly and regularly attacking the press as a whole in an attempt to undermine them so that the public would ignore and/or not trust them when they report on that week/day’s debacle, so at most you’d had ‘Obama did something bad more often than Trump has(so far), but Trump is still much, much worse on a related action that has wider impact.’

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: how far

What was that, Baghdad Bob? "But Obama!!"?
THAT’s your whole argument?

This may come as news to anyone who wasn’t raised to fundamental human decency but the argument "But that guy was acting badly so that means I can, too" doesn’t fly even in pre-school.

And your argument about Lincoln would mean that genocide is still OK because past national leaders have perpetrated such.

At least have the moral courage to admit the truth that you’re still so scarred for life about a Black man being president that you’ve regressed to the state of a toddler throwing tantrums.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: how far

"What was that, Baghdad Bob? "But Obama!!"?
THAT’s your whole argument?"

It’s all they have. They can’t actually defend anything Trump does, so they have to indulge in a good dose of whataboutism.

It’s not quite as dumb as the fearmongering "this is what the US will be like if Biden is elected" (handily ignoring that all the pictures are from Trump’s America), but it’s the same kind of thinking.

"the argument "But that guy was acting badly so that means I can, too" doesn’t fly even in pre-school."

It seems that a lot of people didn’t graduate from there.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Exactly the same as previous administrations

The Clintons had the secret service stay in a home on the new property they purchased in New York. The amount that they charged the Secret Service, pays for not only the house the SS stay in, but the entire mortgage for the whole thing. They directly profit from having to have Secret Service around them so why can’t any other president?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
teka says:

Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/landlords-of-misrule/

In short: No. you are wrong. Repeating a cool fun talking point you found on facebook or on your special safe forums wins you no point. You are either lying for perceived political points or you are letting yourself be used by others like a cheap plastic fork (useful for a moment, then discarded without a thought when you get it dirty)

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

Unfortunately, quoting snopes is a rather ineffective way of confronting falsehood, especially when it is being spread by an Alt-right type (the type who most often, but not uniquely, spreads falsehoods about he Clintons).

The reason is that they have all sorts of conspiracy theories about snopes that allow them to ignore any fact-checking there. The origin of this prejudice is actually well-known and documented on several fact-checking sites (including at least one right-ish favourite). Snopes exposed a con man (and it was a man, so this is descriptive, not generic) who retaliated by a) passing himself off as a right-wing type, under assault by the "media" and b) making several bizarre, false and damaging claims about snopes. The right (especially those of an "alt" nature) ate it up and have since pretty consistently ignored or rejected any snopes fact checking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Exactly the same as previous administrations

Which, unfortunately, is most people. Especially if they’ve already come up with an excuse to ignore your source.

And especially those on the political extremes, like the extreme hard left of the democratic party and the 80% plus of republicans who worship the Donald.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Exactly the same as previous administrat

The only difference between McCarthy and the current crop is that he was at least railing against actual communists. He was wrong, astoundingly counter-productive and his methods horribly destructive to innocent people, but at least his perceived opponents really were communists, rather than just people suggesting the poor get healthcare and unemployment benefits.

The moment he spoke up to explain to these people what communism actually was, he’d be kicked to the curb.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
teka says:

Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

There are an unfortunately large amount of "satire" pieces that seem engineered to act as ammo for people tilted toward a skewed position. Once the "satire" goes through a few layers of "FW:FW:FW:RE:You GOtta Raed THIS screenshot of a facebook post and pass it On!" it might just be news that PROVES that there was secretly a basement under the pizza place after all.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

They directly profit from having to have Secret Service around them so why can’t any other president?

  1. You’re referencing something that happened after Bill Clinton was no longer president; he wasn’t using the power of that office for personal financial gain.
  2. You might want to get your shit straight on that story, too.
  3. The power of the office of the president — or any public office, really — shouldn’t be used for personal financial gain; that numerous lawmakers believe otherwise and act accordingly is an ethical dilemma (and possibly a legal one), but it is also a cold reality that spits in the face of idealism and asks for payment in return.
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

That’s your bar? "Well, I was told that guy was stealing, so I’ll start robbing the place as well"?

No wonder your country’s in such bad shape. Even if you were telling the truth (and it appears that you’re not), you’re happily engaged in a race to the bottom.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

If he wins re-election we’ll see journalists who report on leaks start to get arrested, disappeared to dark military run holes while the crazed ‘Mah Freedum!’, ‘Cancel culture!’ and ‘Free speech!’ loons on the right cheer, caring not one jot about their fellow Americans or the freedoms they’re giving up for spite.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'I wish I could do that...'

You can tell a lot about a person by who they admire, and the fact that Trump openly admires brutal dictators while tasking the government to put together a list of his ‘enemies’ on top of constantly attacking and belittling anyone that dares call him out on his actions seems to make pretty clear that he’d love to have as few limits as his idols, if only that pesky ‘constitution’ and ‘laws’ weren’t getting in the way.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »