The Blog

Donald Trump Declares War on Democracy

It has finally happened! Although it has been a long time coming, Donald Trump has officially declared war on democracy.

It has finally happened! Although it has been a long time coming, Donald Trump has officially declared war on democracy.

The 69 year old toupee last week told supporters that if he became president, he would change the nation's libel laws so he can sue any media organisation which publish something he doesn't like making "a lot of money."

In fact, if Trump got his way, he would probably try and sue myself for writing about his totalitarian mindset and the dangerous depths of extremism he stoops down to.

The Dictator-Elect directly threatened the media saying that when he is president, they will "have problems."

To quote him exactly, Trump told supporters at a rally in Texas:

"I'll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I've ever met.

"I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, write a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected.

"With me, they're not protected, because I'm not like other people, but I'm not taking money, I'm not taking their money."

And this is coming from the very same mouth of a man who wants to preserve the US constitution and wants it to remain as rigid as ever!

Irony alert: The first amendment in the US constitution states explicitly that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press".

The first amendment is one of the pivotal foundation stones of democracy in the United States. The constitution is their sacred document that the government protects and upholds (only when it suits the political elite it seems).

Donald Trump may say he wants the constitution protecting and enshrined into society, but it appears to be quite flexible when it suits him. He is a disgrace to those who really do relish the constitution and want to preserve its value.

Would he really repeal an amendment in the constitution for his own selfish reasons? Of course he would! Donald Trump doesn't really care about America, or anyone else for that matter, just his own ego.

Even if he tried to amend the constitution, it would not be possible because he would need two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives to be in agreement.

There is another way of suing the media without actually amending the constitution, although it is a lot more complicated.

In 1964 there was a landmark court case in the US Supreme Court - New York Times Co v Sullivan.

In a nutshell, this case revolves around the New York Times, who in 1960, ran an advertisement which criticised the police department of Montgomery, Alabama for its treatment of civil rights protestors. The full page advert was paid for by civil rights activists.

The advert contained some false statements leading to the police commissioner suing the NYT for libel. The plaintiff argued that the advert severely damaged his and the police departments reputation, and the court ruled in his favour.

What followed was a lengthy legal battle which eventually led to the NYT appealing the decision at the US Supreme Court, where they argued that the ad wasn't intended to damage anybody's reputation and asserted their rights under the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the newspaper, saying that the First Amendment protects a publication's rights to publish any statement without malice.

This is now set in precedent, and in order for a public official (including politicians) to sue the media for libel, they must prove what was said was intended to be used as actual malice "with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not."

This case cemented the laws surrounding freedom of the press in the United States and as much as he wants to, Trump cannot just change an old established law with the click of his fingers.

The only way he can change this law is by getting the US Supreme Court Justices to overturn the decision in Times v Sullivan, which is extremely unlikely to happen under any circumstances.

There is also the small issue of international law which Trump would have to tackle. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that "everybody shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and that people have the right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds regardless of frontiers... though any media of his choice."

So, media organisations - you are safe! Report the news without fear of being silenced by a lunatic who wants to abuse his position of power by intimidating and tyrannising people who have differing opinions to his own.