Not yet a week into the new #trump era here in the United States of America we still have more questions than answers but we do see some positive and negative possibilities.
The plus side
On the positive side, President-Elect Donald Trump seems to be working with the Republican Congress on some important aspects of American life including modifying but not destroying The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), and moving quickly to invest in the desperately needed infrastructure repair and replacement - U.S. bridges, highways, water and sewage systems are falling apart.
The Obama administration also wanted to move forward on infrastructure but was always blocked by the Republican Congress. If Trump and Congress can get together on this one problem we could see a vast investment in the future of America as well as many new jobs. On the ACA President-Elect Trump and the Republican leader of the House both say they will keep the vital requirement that those with pre-existing conditions must be able to obtain insurance.
The negative side
On the negative side, following a pattern, Mr. Trump is already attacking the New York Times and has stated that he wants to revamp the libel laws to make it easier to sue (punish) reporters and news publishers.
Fortunately, he simply can’t do that without repealing The First Amendment which, among other things guarantees freedom of the press (essentially exempting from intimidation by the powerful) and freedom of religion. Even if he attempted this, which would take 4-10 years to accomplish, it is likely his many religious-right supporters would object to meddling with this particular provision of The Constitution.
But in this, he wouldn’t be the first to challenge the media. President Obama’s administration has begun more anti-media legal actions than any other president in the past 50 years by going after not reporters, but their vital sources. For now, reporters are fairly well protected because there isn’t actually any Federal libel law, all such slander laws are state laws.
How to intimidate the Press
There is one way the new administration could attack the media directly and that is through the 1917 Espionage Act. (18 U.S.C. § 793 : US Code - Section 793: Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.)
Although the actual intent of this act was to give the Federal Government the power to locate, track, and arrest spies during the First World War, it was written so vaguely that it could be interpreted to cover far more than the actions of foreign agents.
For example, it is entirely possible that the US branch of Blasting could be charged with Espionage as could the New York Times and The Washington Post (which I used to work for.) It is unlikely to happen but we have seen many unlikely things happen over the past 16 months and more are likely to occur.
Bad news Trump wins
Meanwhile, that is all speculative and may never happen but today we already have what is already happening and this includes a serious uptick in anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-black rhetoric and actions in U.S. cities and even schools.
The President-Elect is curiously silent on this - he could probably stem much of the threat with a 5 minute address to the nation but he declines to do so while the North Carolina branch of the KKK is planning a “support Trump” rally and parade and anti-Trump protesters are parading nightly in many cities, even attacking police in usually very laid back Portland, Oregon.
(NOTES: First, it is acceptable to address the President, and therefore probably the President Elect, first by his full title, then by the simple Sir, or Mr. since the President is an elected servant of the people, not a monarch. Secondly, as a 37+ year member of The National Press Club, I am applying for White House Press Corps Credentials since the new administration has stated that all reporters much apply or re-apply for these credentials. If accepted I look forward to producing regular Blasting News coverage from the White House.) #election #censorship