Despite Gag Orders, Organizations Go Rogue During Trump’s First Week

Despite Gag Orders,

Organizations Go Rogue During Trump’s First Week

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History warns us that the media have been too late in the past to react to an autocratic movement or a despotic leadership. The press was censored with little to no resistance under Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini’s movements and in astonishingly quick fashion. The press has crumbled under autocracy, overtaken by propaganda and become mouthpieces for leaders. It has failed in the past, absurdly, to do its job and serve its purpose – and we’re painfully aware of the consequences of a biased, politically driven press.

It Lies.

President Trump’s first week was not going to plan before it even started. The rumblings of potential headcounts for the women’s marches overshadowed his seemingly puny inauguration. Mourning for the loss of Obama from the oval weighed heavy on social media, and that leering, ludicrous Moscow debacle still lingered around the edges of the media. There was no excitement, no international awe at the impending swearing in – just anger, fear, consternation and rebellion.

His reaction was, as predicted, immense. Bold, brash misogyny littered newsfeeds for the entire week – an outpouring of grief from the rest of the world. What have you done?

The marches did little to deter from his agenda; he didn’t listen, see, nor did he care about anything emboldened on the hundreds of thousands of signs made to get his attention. And when one of his underling agencies inflamed him with rage on his favourite social platform for verbosity – gag orders were sent down from the oval.

Censored

The horrifying word that was rattled around in the wake of his election and his tirade against the media became a reality last week when he imposed a gag order on some of his governmental agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) among others, who have been sceptical of the new president since his appointment of Scott Pruit to leader of the agency.

The National Parks Service twitter was deactivated after they retweeted the picture that has gone viral indicating the major difference between Obama’s inauguration and Trump’s, a difference he vehemently denied in a cringey statement made at the C.I.A.

NPR suggest that these accounts could be a logical way to oppose media blackouts, and indeed they’re right. Where history indicates people were too slow to react to a potential autocrat and report on their malice or wayward political approach – these rogue twitter accounts pre-empt what has the potential to become a very angry, insolent and ignorant presidency.

Instead of the media having to plunge itself into what during the wars became known as ‘The Underground’ press, the internet – social media and other outlets allow for a new type of freedom that cannot be reduced to a meagre newsletter handed out through rebel channels.

If this past week has proven anything it’s that the president continues to align himself with those names we dare mention above, that have haunted history since the beginning of the last century, and does not look like stopping. His ascendancy to power bares a striking and unnerving resemblance to that of the Nazi party in the 1930’s backed by racism, fear and a discontent with a ‘weak’ government(and some foreign governmental help). The anti-semitism that pervaded Adolf Hitler’s campaign is near replicated in the beginning of his immigration policy implemented this past week. His next step would have been to censor the media and place a trusted adviser to take over and begin impugning the press with propaganda.

Therein lies the major difference between the 1930’s and now.

You cannot shut down the New York Times or silence the Washington Post – you cannot close Twitter or Facebook, and you most certainly cannot eradicate internet sites like Buzzfeed or Mashable. They are too large, too prevalent, the presidency only gets you so far.

What you can do — and what is futile — creating an even bigger resistance, is shut down these minor accounts, only to serve the purpose of cutting the head off a monster similar to Fluffy from Harry Potter. Another will always come up in its place.

Nazi Propaganda Chief Goebbels. Courtesy of New Statesman
Amy Corcoran

The Associate Editor of SWAAY: Amy is an Irish writer, avid foodie and feminist with an insatiable appetite for novels and empowering women's writing. She has enjoyed calling Dublin, Paris and now New York her home.

1 Comment
  1. There’s so much talk about Orwell’s classic: “1984,” enjoying increased sales, but I’d like to recommend a book by Antonio Tabucchi: “Pereira Declares.” The stylistic format in which the reader, much like the self-absorbed protagonist, prefers the solitude of his or her own world, choosing to ignore the rapidly changing, hostile times of Fascist Europe, namely Portugal, during the scourge of Nazi-era Germany’s and Mussolini’s reign of terror.

    The book starts out lulling the reader as if to make him or her to stop reading, that’s the challenge…to tune-in or find oneself under the boot of Fascism. Roughly 60 pages into the novel, something dramatic happens and the self-absorbed protagonist is faced with a chilling reality that in many ways mirrors what we are now facing: fight or fall.

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