Trump Campaign Pushing Networks to Blacklist Democrats Over Russian Collusion Comments

Trump Campaign Pushing Networks to Blacklist Democrats Over Russian Collusion Comments

Jonathan Swan of Axios reports that Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign is trying to get certain Democrats blacklisted from news shows:

The memo from Tim Murtaugh, Director of Communications for the campaign, cites Robert Mueller’s report has been a “total and complete vindication of President Trump.” Which in itself may not be true. It is William Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report that cleared Trump of collusion, but not of obstruction of justice. No one else has read the report yet.

Murtaugh goes on to say that the vindication “comes after two years of Democrat leaders and others lying to the American people by vigorously and repeatedly claiming there was evidence of collusion. They made many of these false claims, without evidence, on your airwaves.”

This is followed by a list of half a dozen of these guests, including Rep. Adam Schiff, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and John Brennan, the former CIA director. Each name is accompanied by a single, out-of-context quote referencing collusion.

Murtaugh goes on to request that the show producers “employ basic journalistic standards” when booking these guests in the future by asking the question, “Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past?” If producers do book these guests, he wants them asked to provide the evidence on which they based their prior claims.

The letter does not acknowledge the vast amounts of free airtime President Trump has gotten since the day he kicked off his campaign in June of 2015, which he has often used to lie freely and unchallenged. The Washington Post has been keeping a running tally of the number of lies the president has told just in the two years since his inauguration. As of a week ago, that number was up to 9,179. The vast majority were made during some televised event or other.

This does not even get us into the lies told on television by administration officials such as Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Hogan Gidley, Mick Mulvaney and countless others. And that’s just on all the networks that are not Fox News, which is more or less a propaganda arm of the White House.

As noted, the letter came from the Trump campaign, which is a private entity. But there is zero reason to think Trump would disagree with an attempt to silence his opponents. It should surprise no one if the next attempted blacklist comes from the White House press office.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.