Donald Trump’s White House has long been suspected of having authoritarian tendencies. They swear they do not, but evidence to the contrary persists. Trump himself has called the free press the “enemy of the people,” and has refused to answer difficult questions. On top of that, he lies on a daily basis. However, what recently happened to a CNN reporter really takes the cake here.
CNN’s Kaitlin Collins did what any reporter would during a presidential press availability, and asked Trump questions about the news of the day — namely about Michael Cohen and the ordeal of the newly released tapes regarding payments to a Playboy model Trump allegedly had an affair with.
These questions were not convenient, so what did the White House press shop do? Why, they said the questions were “inappropriate” and banned Collins from a future press availability. Collins was made to stand, like a child who worked for them, in front of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former Fox Executive-turned-Trump press lackey (what’s the difference, really?) Bill Shine, and be informed that she was banned from the presser later in the day.
CNN released the following scathing statement regarding this authoritarian behavior:
Statement regarding CNN press access at today’s White House event. We demand better. pic.twitter.com/s4lSTcHVak
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) July 25, 2018
Even a Fox host, John Roberts, had a problem with this. The following was tweeted:
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) July 25, 2018
Other Fox personalities stood on the side of the free press as well, including present host Bret Baier and former host Megyn Kelly:
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) July 25, 2018
.@BretBaier just now: “as a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on access.” Good for them.
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) July 25, 2018
In short, if you think the Trump Administration is not a danger to basic American institutions like the free press, you’re wrong. Now, asking questions is grounds for banishment from open press events. What’s next, only Trump’s sycophants at Breitbart, Drudge, the Daily Caller, and Fox allowed in pressers?
This is outrageous. Watch your backs, folks. This isn’t just creeping authoritarianism. The day an administration can ban reporters and nothing can be done about it, we’re already there.
Featured image via Mario Tama/Getty Images