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Trump's Antitrust Threat Against CNN is a Dangerous Escalation

Using leverage against CNN to demand favorable reporting is the stuff of third world dictatorships. Yet, here we are.

Donald Trump has been president for less than six months and he's so eroded our sense of what is normal in a democracy that this is not the screaming headline of every newspaper:

“White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary” CNN, the official told the Times’s Michael Grynbaum: “a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T.”

There’s a threat implicit in that comment. CNN has emerged as the administration’s favorite media punching bag, and if it doesn’t start producing Trump-friendlier reporting, its parent company’s business plans might suffer.

I don't about you but I'm so old that I remember back to when the entire country went into a frenzy when a president from a long time ago, Barack Obama I think his name was, used the IRS to attack his political enemies.

Yes, I remember it clear as if it was just 4 years ago that this Obama fella had ordered the IRS to investigate and then deny conservative groups applying for tax-free status. It was the most shocking abuse of executive power in American history we were told. Why, the talk of impeachment was just plum everywhere! This is America and we don't tolerate our presidents attacking the First Amendment. You young'ns might not appreciate what you got but us old timers had to walk 10 miles in the snow without shoes to exercise our constitutional rights!

Turns out that Obama had nothing to do with the "scandal" and that, in fact, there was absolutely no political motivation behind the IRS' actions. That didn't stop the media from spending over a year bitching about it, though. Everyone agreed that even the appearance of the executive branch abusing its power this way was toxic and even fake scandals sell papers.

But here we are, in the distant future of 4 years later and Trump's goons are allegedly openly talking about using the Justice Department to threaten a media company into compliance. So far, the nation's reaction has been "Meh," as if this would not have caused riots just 365 days ago. And that's what makes this so dangerous.

We're becoming so inured to Trump's corruption and illegal activities that we're in real danger of letting him become the dictator he so clearly wants to be. People who have survived authoritarian takeovers have warned us repeatedly to be wary of normalizing the abnormal. Dictators do not seize power in one fell swoop. Instead, they carefully erode our sense of what is acceptable until we're through the looking glass and we've always been at war with Eastasia.

I don't care if you're getting tired of hearing it: This. Is. Not. Normal.

Ignore that simple fact and you can kiss every single part of your progressive agenda goodbye. This will be an apartheid state run by the megarich and we'll all be vassals to the new Robber Barons. And that will be the new normal.

There are 486 days left to the 2018 elections.

- This article kills fascists

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