On Tuesday, the White House announced that it is terminating its subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Why not? The Times and the Post are disreputable partisan rags. They have no stature, no standing, and there is no reason why taxpayers should have to support their partisan journalism.
Trump’s action provoked the usual hyperventilation from his critics. This tweet by retired liberal General Barry McCaffrey, via The Hill, is a classic:
The White House Trump statement telling the entire Federal Government to terminate subscriptions to the NYT and Wash Post is a watershed moment in national history. No room for HUMOROUS media coverage. This is deadly serious. This is Mussolini.
— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) October 25, 2019
A “watershed moment in national history”? This, like so many attacks on the president, is deranged. And the Mussolini reference is priceless. Il Duce would have been OK, but, by golly, he canceled the Palace’s newspaper subscriptions! That must be why they hanged him from a lamppost.
Actually, Mussolini’s relationship to the press was quite different. According to this account, he wanted a relationship with the Italian press very much like the one that our Democratic Party actually enjoys with America’s “mainstream” journalists:
Journalists were, like all other professions, encouraged to see their occupation as one of many forms of service to the nation, to participate actively in the education and inculcation of the Italian people. Recall that Mussolini saw himself as a revolutionary and his government as a living embodiment of transformative new ideas. The transmittal of these ideas and relatedly the cultivation of a soldierly esprit de corps was, to Mussolini’s mind, a primary responsibility of the Italian press.
Substitute “woke” for “soldierly” and you’ve got the New York Times and the Washington Post.
No such idea of adversarial journalism, of subjecting the actions of state to investigation and scrutiny, was to infect the minds of the nation’s newspaper writers and editors. Rather Mussolini contended that “Fascism requires militant journalism,” the country’s newspapers presenting themselves “as a solid bloc,” committed to “the Cause” and obscuring or outrightly burying any fact or story antithetical to it.
Heh. Once again, this is an apt description of America’s “mainstream” press. In Jim Treacher’s memorable formulation:
Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn't know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.
— 👻Grim Creature🎃 (@jtLOL) August 18, 2014
In Fascist Italy, social and political pressures—and the resultant self-policing by the media—were at least as important as actual legal proscriptions, probably much more important.
Mussolini could only have dreamed of the kind of self-policing the Times and the Post engage in, on behalf of the Democratic Party and the deep state.