Last week, Donald Trump banned several news media outlets from his news briefings. This is unprecedented in the history of the United States that routinely accuses other governments of not respecting the rights of a free press. I was stunned at the audacity but immediately knew that it would make no difference to the Trump supporters.
Clearly the country is divided, almost by fifty-percent and yet the ongoing controversies have further entrenched each side and further divided the country. I am optimistically hopeful that the resistance to the Trump agenda continues via lawful protests but intellectually know that they are extremely difficult to sustain over a long period of time.
If they continue past the sixty-day mark, then it would give me much needed optimism that the United States is truly a country where freedom and inclusiveness is the rule of law.
However, the Trump devotees are not wasting anytime trying to keep the national narrative under their control. My various social media news feeds are being bombarded by pro-Trump rhetoric in an apparent attempt to distort the national opposition to Trump.
I wanted to see first-hand how intelligent people deal with the facts when it doesn’t fit the narrative they embrace. Although unscientific, my experiment proved to me that intelligent people understand the facts but choose to ignore them to keep their narrative intact. As a matter of fact, the more they understand the facts the more they resort to misdirection and deflection away from the topic at hand.
When I confirmed, from independent sources, that Donald Trump, had in fact, banned the BBC, CNN and the Guardian, among others from its news briefings I posed a simple question on my two Facebook feeds. I asked if this was not censorship.
I specifically asked that responders ignore the various questions about immigration, public policy and the election. Instead I wanted responders to focus on the issue of censorship.
As I expected, immediately Trump supporters chimed in. Rather than address the question about censorship they chose to argue that Obama had also censored the news media, specifically Fox news. Their argument is centered on the notion that if previous administrations had censored the news then it was fine for Trump to do it as well.
Never mind that the banning of several news outlets is unprecedented in U.S. politics. Several major news media outlets had never been banned before Donald Trump imposed his ban on various select news outlets.
More important is the right argues that everyone should be responsible for their own actions. That is the central thesis to less government and regulations. However, because it is Donald Trump, his actions are excused because someone else had done it before. Never mind that it is an exaggeration, at best.
But I knew that misdirection was the first tool in their arsenal of pretending all is well with their champion. So, I persisted and encouraged responders to focus on the issue at hand – censorship.
Having failed at misdirection they then tried to create the false illusion that the media ban was not as extreme as it really was. Only one was banned was the collective response. Until I pointed out that it was more than one outlet. Of course, the facts are just tedious impediments so they doubled down by arguing that not all news media outlets were banned, only a few some added.
Clearly, they chose to ignore that banning one news outlet is censorship.
Corralling them back to the issue of censorship I asked them to focus on that topic.
Realizing that misdirection wasn’t going to work they started to use their next tool for defending their champion – deflection.
Rather than addressing the issue of censorship they resorted to deflecting away from that issue and instead tried to argue that it wasn’t censorship because the banned media outlets had been proven to publish fake news.
Their argument was that it wasn’t censorship because censoring fake news is not censorship.
Again, never mind that no one could provide proof that the banned outlets were providers of fake news, but again it’s not about the facts but rather about manufacturing perception.
I wasn’t going to let them get away with that so I kept hammering on them about the issue of censorship. They did their best to make the discussion about fake news and when that failed they jumped into making it personal about my feelings. They asked, how would you act if people kept attacking you repeatedly. The argument being that if the news media is attacking me, wouldn’t I ban them as well?
The problem is that I am not the president and thus I do not have the same responsibility to accountability to the country as he does. Seems like that was lost in some of them.
I continued throughout Sunday to try to get them to understand that the issue is about censorship, a central and important theme to any democracy.
When they ran out of platitudes they went silent. They stopped because they understood that they were wrong.
Oh, I’m sure all of them will argue that they weren’t admitting they were wrong just that they were done with the debate. One commenter actually asked me if I wanted Trump’s head on a platter. I didn’t bother to respond because I knew then that I had made my point.
I knew I wasn’t going to get anyone to admit the issue is censorship because to do so would tarnish the Donald Trump armor they so admire.
But it demonstrated to me that they may blindly follow their leader’s political rhetoric while many of them intellectually worrying about what is actually going on.
They just aren’t ready to admit it, yet.
There are many ongoing public resistance efforts against the Donald Trump administration.
I am also participating in the resistance to his politics of hate by taking each piece of propaganda, misdirection and deflection down to its bare bones and forcing Trump supporters to confront the facts of what the ramifications to the nation are each time Trump attacks the democracy of the country.
Eventually, although they may not admit it, the facts will pierce their blind allegiance to Trump.