The VICE Guide to Right Now

Almost Half of Republicans Think Trump Should Have the Power to Kill Media Outlets

Which would potentially rob the world of *my* amazing journalism.
August 7, 2018, 6:21pm
Photo via Rick Loomis/Getty Images and photoshop via the author.

Depressing! A new public opinion poll by Ipsos and provided to the Daily Beast found that 43 percent of Republicans believe that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior." From the Daily Beast:

Republicans were far more likely to take a negative view of the media. Forty-eight percent of them said they believed “the news media is the enemy of the American people” (just 28 percent disagreed) while nearly four out of every five (79 percent) said that they believed “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly.”

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This is scary for a variety of reasons—the most obvious being that this country was founded on a little thing that rhymes with "peedom of fress." Even sadder? Twelve percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents also believe that Trump should have the power to shut down media organizations behaving badly. And if there's any media bad boy who could face the consequences of a devastating expansion of presidential powers, it's me, Eve Peyser.

My blogs are edgy, not safe for normie consumption. If Trump suddenly got the power to shut down the hardworking folks at VICE Media, including me, the general public would be robbed of the experience of reading groundbreaking work like, "Feminism Win: New Predator Movie to Feature Lady Predators" and "Jared Leto Is the Joker We Deserve."

Seventy-four percent of Democrats disagree with the idea that the president should have the power to shut down journalists he doesn't like—but the poll is nevertheless upsetting because it shows how powerful Trump's anti-media rhetoric is. As writer Hamilton Nolan recently warned on Splinter, "An American journalist is going to get murdered as a direct result of our current political climate" because of "Trump’s Goebbels-esque determination to hammer the public with the idea that Fake News Is The Enemy."

And while that might seem like an extreme prediction, but on Monday, C-SPAN had to report a caller to the FBI who threatened to "shoot" CNN's Don Lemon and Brian Stelter just a few days after Trump called Lemon "the dumbest man on television" to his 53 million Twitter followers.

Sure, Trump prohibiting me from writing great works like "Birthday Boy Rudy Giuliani Got Booed at Yankee Stadium and It Cured My Depression" would be personally upsetting to me. But the fact that 48 percent of Republicans believe “the news media is the enemy of the American people” is just dangerous. The press exists, in part, to hold people in power accountable. If Trump had the power to, for example, censor me from penning poetry like "Only Pathetic Losers Would Want Donald Trump at Their Funeral" or "I Lived Like Trump for a Day and It Almost Killed Me" that would open the door to the president censoring stories that actually matter—like Forbes's recent article about the secretary of commerce's financial conflicts of interests or the New York Times and Washington Post's reporting on the never-ending Russia scandal. We already live in a post-truth era. The public turning against the (admittedly very flawed) media is further illustration of just how fucked we really are.

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