Trump Administration Poised to Target Media, Insider Cautions

Former President's Tense Relations with Press Escalate

by Zain ul Abedin
Trump Administration Poised to Target Media, Insider Cautions
© Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

In a potentially foreboding assertion, a close ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump has indicated that a future Trump administration might engage in legal action, either criminal or civil, against media members. This stark warning emanates from Kash Patel, an ex-advisor to the Secretary of Defense and a former counterterrorism advisor on the National Security Council.

Patel, speaking on Steve Bannon's podcast, hinted at a rigorous pursuit of those in the media accused of disseminating falsehoods about American citizens and allegedly aiding Joe Biden in "rigging" the elections. Patel's provocative statement, "We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in the government, but in the media...

we're going to come after you," underscores a potential escalation in the Trump camp's contentious relationship with the press. While Patel emphasized putting "all-American patriots" in crucial positions in the new Trump administration, the implications of his comments raise concerns about the sanctity of free speech and press freedom in the United States.

Donald Trump, who has not yet been confirmed as the Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential race, continues to maintain significant popularity despite facing multiple criminal indictments. His administration's approach to the media has often been characterized by hostility and allegations of bias, with Trump famously coining the term "fake news." He has accused the media of being the "opposition party" and an "enemy of the people," a phrase with chilling historical connotations.

Trump's Media Confrontation

When approached for comment by the Associated Press, the Trump campaign distanced itself from Patel's remarks, stating that such pronouncements "have nothing to do" with the campaign. However, in a recent interview with Fox News, Trump reiterated his disdain for the media without directly addressing the notion of retribution against the press.

This tension with the media was exemplified during Trump's presidency by incidents like the barring of major news outlets, including CNN, Politico, and the New York Times, from a White House media briefing. Following the Capitol unrest on January 6, which many attributed to Trump's incitement, major social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter (now X), suspended his accounts.

These bans prompted Trump to launch his social media network in 2021, TRUTH Social, as a stand against "Big Tech tyranny." The prospect of a government targeting the media for legal action conjures up parallels with authoritarian regimes, notably the censorship tactics seen in Russia since the Ukraine war.

Such developments, if realized, could signal a worrying shift in the American political landscape, where the freedom of the press has traditionally been a cornerstone of democratic values.