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18 Jan, 2018 20:00

Have your freedom of press & shut it – 'Two alternative universes in the US'

Have your freedom of press & shut it – 'Two alternative universes in the US'

The US Senate didn’t care what Barack Obama did when it came to Russia, but it's a very different ball game when it comes to Donald Trump, conservative commentator Steve Malzberg told RT America’s Ed Schultz.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) called out president Trump for his confrontational attitude towards the media Wednesday. Flake, who is not running for reelection, castigated Trump on the Senate floor, accusing him of shutting down freedom of speech and abusing the truth.

His colleague, John McCain, tweeted, “whether he knows it or not” the president’s “attacks on the press are being closely watched by foreign leaders intent on shutting down scrutiny and silencing free speech.”

Trump has repeatedly blasted the mainstream media for unsubstantiated reporting. The Media Research Center found that 90 per cent of the coverage on the president has been negative. Pew's research states 62 per cent has been negative.

RT: Has Trump gone too far in this fight with the media?

Steve Malzberg: No, that was the difference between him and every other candidate up there on the stage during the Republican primaries. I thought all along he was only candidate who could beat Hillary, because he’s unafraid. He will say what no other republican national candidate has ever said. We had [Mitt] Romney, who shied away, 'We can’t say this, we can’t say that!' McCain: 'Oh, we can’t offend this, we can’t say that!' Trump, 'Say anything to anybody.' And the media from day one was out to get him, and certainly at day one after his election. I’ve never seen anything like it.

RT: If Flake, the senator from Arizona... If he is running for reelection, does he do what he did today?

SM: I can imagine, unless he is going to switch parties and run as a Democrat. It’s unreal to sit there and to compare him… With Stalin... That’s just crazy stuff. It is interesting. Here is a guy, Flake, who went to Cuba recently, who was for easing travel restrictions on that communist repressive regime of Cuba, and by the way told AP (Associated Press) that he agrees with the Cubans when they say they didn’t harm the American diplomats who got ill. It sounds like he is more of a ‘Stalin,’ if you will, then Trump has ever been.

RT:It seems like everybody in the US Senate has bought into the fact that freedom of speech has turned into propaganda. Do they know the difference between the two? They have targeted RT America, now they are looking at the Chinese network. If you don’t say exactly what the Senate wants to hear – all of the sudden they are going to have your register, or they are going to yank your credentials. Are we hearing two different voices here?

SM: We are hearing two different voices. And it is interesting to say: are we hearing? Do you know how many senators were in the chamber during the Flake’s speech? From what I understand – two: Amy Klobuchar and Dick Durbin, who if there were no cameras would run right out and tell everybody what he said. It is like there are two alternative universes. On the one hand, he says these things: freedom of the press, freedom of the press, and on the other hand, they are shutting freedom of the press to a great extent.

RT:The US Senate has not formally pointed to any particular story that has been on RT that they claim is false, absolute propaganda, and they have never contacted anyone at the network. There seems to be two schools of thoughts here: they only like it when it is good for them, and there are hate merchants inside the Senate on this president.

SM: Hate merchants on the president, and Russia has become the bogeyman. They didn’t care what [Barack] Obama did when it came to Russia. It was Obama who was caught on a hot mic telling: “Tell Vladimir I’ll allow more leeway after the election.” But now in an effort to get Trump it is Russia. When [Robert] Mueller finds no collusion on Russia, they’ll brush it aside, but they won’t correct their mistakes – they are not going to take RT off that list that they put it on with the farcing and all that – they are going it ignore it. And let it be, even though it was a mistake.