President Trump’s personal obsessions have always outweighed any political principles that were traditionally-held Republican values. For instance, can you imagine any other GOP leader calling for the creation of a government-led enterprise that would compete with private business in any sector of industry?
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Typically, it’s quite the opposite, with Republicans calling for privately run prisons and postal services, while decrying attempts at establishing government-run energy companies, internet service providers, or 5G wireless networks at any level of local, state, or national control.
Yet, President Trump’s well-documented vendetta against the media has led him to call for just such a government-controlled competitor to one of the news outlets he considers his arch-enemy, CNN.
Trump took to Twitter with an astonishing proposal that is counterintuitive to every Republican policy position previously held, yet quite fitting with the president’s continual attempts to transform out democracy into an authoritarian dictatorship subject to his every whim.
….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2018
Notwithstanding the fact the United States already has a “Worldwide Network” disseminating “accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience” as the charter of the Voice of America describes its mission, Trump ignores the fact that CNN’s international presence is largely as an English language news channel aimed at tourists, travelling businessmen, and expats and available only to those who have access to cable or satellite TV.
While the AT&T-owned news network does have a Spanish language feed and separately-managed joint ventures in a few countries like India, Indonesia, and Japan, these channels are mostly small players in the international media landscape.
The Voice of America, on the other hand, is the largest U.S. international broadcaster and produces digital, TV, and radio content in more than 40 local languages, making it considerably more accessible to non-English speakers and people who can’t afford subscription TV.
Trump’s tweet today has more to do with his hatred of CNN than any sudden desire to spread any messages of democracy and freedom around the globe. His desire to hurt the news network that he considers his nemesis is so important to him that he’s willing to go against the primary values of his own party in promoting private enterprise over government control while exposing his ignorance of America’s existing government media infrastructure.
His tweet is a display of pure arrogance on the president’s part as he stamps his foot and virtually cries “Why can’t I have a state broadcaster like the other autocrats have? Bwaahahah!” Luckily, once Trump realizes that the U.S. already has a service like he’s proposing, it is protected by law from his interference with its programming through its charter which clearly states:
“1. VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.”
“2. VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.”
“3. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.”
Somehow, it’s doubtful that this is what the president has in mind in his proposal to undermine CNN’s international business.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.