The Trump campaign this month debuted its own “real news” channel aimed at countering the purported “fake news” coming out of the mainstream press.
Although the first edition of the program was widely ridiculed as cheap propaganda, a top media scholar still believes it crosses a dangerous threshold and is the closest thing we’ve seen in the United States so far to a genuine state-run news channel.
In an interview with Vox, American Press Institute Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel said that he doubted the initial effort to create “Trump TV” would be successful, but he nonetheless described it as a “dangerous effort.”
“It smacks of state-run news, and we’re not supposed to have state-run news in the United States of America,” Rosenstiel explained.
Even though the first effort at creating a state-run propaganda station was clumsy, Rosenstiel said it was part of a broader campaign by the president to discredit all sources of information that don’t come directly from the Trump White House.
“The adoption of phrases like ‘fake news’ and ‘real news’ is alarming, especially coming from the president. This is Orwellian, and it’s happening right now, right here… What makes Trump different is that he’s systematically trying to delegitimize the news as an institution because they won’t cover him the way he wants to be covered… This is what demagogues and despots do.”