Here's something I got right and I really wish I hadn't. We'll start with an excerpt from my column of November 14, 2016.
No. 1 Certain Election Result: Media Under Pressure
Here's a big head's up for media mavens (in case you haven't already noticed): The times they are a'changing. With apologies to Bob Dylan, I would suggest that the U.S. has now joined the rest of the world with a newly elected leader who regards the media as one would a gnat: If it annoys you, swat it. Swat it hard.
This puts us squarely in the global mainstream of authoritarianism, especially regarding freedom of speech. Out of curiosity (and a bit of masochism), I counted the number of nations with significant levels of press controls. On my first pass, the total came to 145.
In short, of the 197 sovereign countries in the world, the great majority have governments that to one extent or another attempt to regulate and control the various forms of media. True freedom is rare, and getting rarer.
Among the most repressive for press freedoms are (in alphabetical order by country/ruler): Egypt/Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; Hungary/Viktor Orban; Iran/Hassan Rouhani; Phillipines/Rodrigo Duterte; Poland/Andrzej Duda; Russia/Vladimir Putin; Turkey/Recep Tayyin Erdogan; Venezuela/Nicolas Maduro.
Donald Trump's list of role models?
And there you have it: A list or rulers who can show our next President how to manage the media. He'll be off to a good start having promised to sue The New York Times and to block the AT&T takeover of Time Warner. Not to mention the so-called enemies list that might or might not be real.
Follow-Up Note: Whatever happened to the tradition of Presidents visiting allies? Maybe it's because Angela Merkel just won't curtsy … and Theresa May lost her majority. Instead, Trump is headed to Poland and he's planning a face-to-face with Russia's dictator.
So, what's Trump going to do or say in Poland and at the G20 meeting? In Poland, he'll ask (in private), "Got any helpful suggestions at shutting down the 'fake' media?"
In Hamburg at the G20 (after insulting Angela Merkel with another hand-dodge) he'll whisper to Vladimir Putin: "Hey, we did it! What do I do next?"
Back in the U.S.A. he'll tell the "fake" media: "Wow, I gave Vlad a really big piece of my mind and told him not to meddle with us anymore!"
What has Trump launched? Is it a "war on the press?" Or a "war on the truth?" Or a "war on the 1st Amendment?" Well, I believe it is a "War on American Democracy."
This is textbook authoritarianism; it sure ain't democracy anymore.
So Net Neutrality will go away. Lots of regulations will go away (to be replaced by some pretty damn draconian moves on the horizon). Great moves for certain media (UHF counts, anyone?). Great ratings for any kind of TV distribution or any kind of social media … but at what cost?
How did we get here? Just ask Rush Hudson Limbaugh III and his copycats … all among the best paid in media. That "vast right-wing" conspiracy … nothing but a money-maker.
What's next? Vilifying Jeff Zucker … which raises the next set of questions: Is AT&T pressuring Time Warner over CNN? (Oh, wait, the column referenced at the top asked that question last year.)
And, by the way, every citizen will be issued a Twitter account that automatically joins the followers of @therealdonaldtrump."
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