By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Online, 2-28-17
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) took aim at President Donald Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media Tuesday, signaling they were part of an assault on the media from without and within that threatened “the survival of journalism as a critical pillar of Democracy.”
He branded the President’s attacks on media as enemies as the tactics of strongmen to maintain power by silencing their critics.
Durbin was speaking to a roomful of radio and TV broadcasters at the National Association of Broadcasters State Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. He drew a standing ovation for his remarks, which were sharply critical of the President.
“The kinds of attacks on the media that we are seeing in America today would have seemed familiar 30 years ago in Ukraine or the Baltics, when those nations were still under Soviet occupation,” he said. “And they would seem familiar today in authoritarian states like Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Turkey or Hungary. Turning reporters into enemies – not just adversaries, but enemies – is a strategy that strongmen use to silence critics and maintain power.
“Their goal is to discredit the messenger. That way, when there is bad news, or news that contradicts the official line, people won’t believe it. Soon enough, people start to lose faith … not just in the media, but in all of the institutions that hold a society together. They lose faith in the power of debate and elections to change anything.
“They become cynical and apathetic. Democracies can’t survive in a universe of ‘alternative facts.’ American democracy depends on informed citizens debating our choices vigorously choosing a path forward.” » Read More