It’s no secret that Donald Trump hates the mainstream media, and specifically CNN, but our Constitution is set up in a way that there’s nothing he can do about it. Trump, though, isn’t about to let a quaint old piece of parchment paper stand in his way. The White House is threatening to prevent a planned merger between CNN and Time Warner if CNN doesn’t start being nice to him.
White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card.
Source: NY Times
What’s particularly interesting about this is that it comes at the exact same time as the right is accusing CNN of extortion. As you probably recall, Trump tweeted a GIF of him in a wrestling match beating the crap out of a man whose face had been covered by the CNN logo.
CNN found the source of that GIF, which was a middle-aged man who has a habit of posting racist and anti-semitic posts on Reddit. Right-wingers were opposed to this statement from CNN:
In the story, reporter Andrew Kaczynski wrote that CNN had found — but would not identify — the Reddit user, whose other posts included racist and anti-Semitic memes, “[b]ecause he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again.”
But it was the next line that would leave the pro-Trump internet inflamed and the journalism community scratching its head: “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
The right-wing media and some politicians are full of claims of extortion by CNN. Of course, this is all happening at a time when the Trump administration is trying to get states to reveal sensitive data on all its voters, but it’s the privacy of a racist internet troll that’s sacrosanct.
Now, the Trump administration’s response to CNN is an actual threat of extortion. Perhaps he needs to read the Constitution before he burns it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.
This puts liberals in an uncomfortable position. Virtually no one favors the proposed merger between CNN and Time-Warner and there are numerous reasons to stop it, but if the price for stopping it is to severely damage our free press, it’s not worth it. Contact CNN and demand that they stay strong.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images