Patterico's Pontifications


TRUMP THUGGERY: Trump Takes a Page from the Left, Threatens NBC License

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

As Susan Wright noted earlier, NBC reported this morning that Donald Trump “wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal” — a ludicrous request that appears to be what prompted Rex Tillerson to call Trump a “moron.” In typical authoritarian style, Trump is responding by denying the story . . . and also by threatening NBC’s broadcast license:

I believe the NBC story because Trump is a) a liar and b) a f*cking moron. But that’s not the point.

The point is that we should all come together — all of us, every single one of us — to oppose this sort of anti-speech thuggery.

The left has a long and rich history of using the power of government regulation to threaten speech they don’t like, with threats to broadcast licenses being a particular favorite of the thugs. I documented just a few of the examples in a post from 2010:

Whether it’s Democrats’ threatening to pull Fox News’s broadcast license because they don’t like the content; or Harry Reid & Co. writing a mafia-style letter threatening ABC’s broadcast license over “The Path to 9/11”; or the DNC threatening Sinclair Broadcasting’s broadcast license over an anti-Kerry documentary; or Obama’s thugs threatening networks’ broadcast licenses over criticism from the NRA; or, most recently, Kathleen Sebelius suggesting that insurance companies had better not claim they’re raising rates because of ObamaCare, or they may find themselves regulated out of existence . . . based on these examples and many more, the public has a special need to fear Democrats’ bringing down the hammer when they engage in free speech.

Now this is officially going to become a position of the “right” as well. As least the idiot portion of the right — a group too large for comfort. And don’t kid yourself. With all the “fake news” caterwauling we constantly hear, Trump’s latest suggestion is sure to appeal to the dimwits who make up a part of Trump’s base. These would be the same authoritarian and reactionary types who shrug at Trump’s praise for Putin and Duterte, and applaud his calls to “open up the libel laws.” The Trumpers will laugh and clap wildly . . . while the anti-anti-Trumpers — the would-be “intellectuals” of the populist movement — will also laugh and clap wildly . . . but will then also say “come on, Trump is not being serious, but he has a point, doesn’t he? Plus we need to use the tactics of the left against them!”

Neither Trumper nor anti-anti-Trumper will spend a single solitary moment denouncing the thuggery on full display here. And Americans will look from Trumper to anti-anti-Trumper, and from anti-anti-Trumper to Trumper — but already it will be impossible to say which is which.

I’ve been documenting and railing about these sort of abuses for the greater part of my adult life. Until now, I have never seen it happen on the right. If it did, I missed it. I used to think of this sort of threat as an exclusively leftist tactic. And it is. But now it will be cheered by the right, because Trump.

There are few things I hate more than seeing the power of the government used to threaten or squelch speech. That behavior has been characteristic of every murderous authoritarian regime in modern history, and any politician taking even a step down that road should greatly concern every American citizen.

If you are defending this because it’s Trump, I have nothing in common with you. You are part of the problem.

To the rest of you: join me in denouncing this. I don’t care if the left denounces it too (as they inevitably will). The Trumpers and the anti-anti-Trumpers don’t understand this, but what’s right is right . . . even if the left happens to agree!

If you don’t understand that, then you’re letting the left dictate your belief system. You’re a sheep, and you deserve to be led to the metaphorical slaughter.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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