The constant badgering of the media by President Donald Trump as “the enemy of the people” appears to have taken root within the Republican party if a recent Ipsos survey is accurate. The new public opinion survey found that 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Such a power would eviscerate the core protection of a free press in our system and fundamentally alter our constitutional guarantees.
If it is true that only 36 percent of surveyed Republicans disagreed with giving a president the power to shutdown news outlet like CNN and The Washington Post, Trump has truly and irrecoverably changed the party and much of the country . . . and, in this case, not for the better.
I have long been critical of Trump’s attacks on the media, even though I have been equally critical of what I view as biased reporting of the president in some cases. The free press is one of the fundamental pillars in our constitutional system and has repeatedly made the difference in our history in fighting abuses, corruption, and authoritarian measures. The free press is part of what defines us as a people.
It is difficult to gauge the accuracy of such polls and surveys, but there has clearly been an increase in anti-media sentiment as vividly captured at Trump rallies where media like CNN have been subjected to threatening and abusive treatment.