Sen. Jeff Flake is reportedly preparing a speech to the Senate that will compare President Trump’s “attacks” on the press, such as calling them an “enemy of the people,” to the actions of bloody Russian communist dictator Joseph Stalin. So I thought I’d pitch in and give him a little help with his research.
Under Stalin, the Soviet Communist Party maintained multiple organizations, each responsible for censoring a different form of communication, from print to movies to radio/TV to theater (even ballet) and more. Any publications from prior to the Soviet era that didn’t align with communist dogma were destroyed, or hidden and seen only by special permit. The only official award journalists could hope to win was the Stalin Prize, which was chosen by Stalin himself. Simply possessing an unauthorized piece of literature could draw the scrutiny of the KGB. Yet, despite his ironfisted rule and his responsibility for the deaths of tens of millions of people, Stalin had many admirers in the US media, most notably New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who received a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his reporting on the USSR that whitewashed the deliberate mass famines and Stalin’s part in them.
By contrast, President Trump has undergone an unprecedented 24/7 onslaught of negative coverage by a US “news media” that openly dropped all pretense of being fair, neutral or objective during the 2016 campaign and declared as its sworn duty the “delegitimizing” of the legally elected President. As part of that effort, even once honorable outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Times and especially CNN have repeatedly promoted anti-Trump stories based on anonymous sources and rumors that later turned out to be completely false. In retaliation, Trump has viciously refused to call on them at press conferences and made fun of them for running “fake news,” which they clearly and undeniably have done and continue to do.
So I’m afraid I really don’t see too many similarities between Stalin and Trump when it comes to their treatment of the press. But there’s one big difference in the way the press treated them: Stalin got far more positive coverage from the New York Times than Trump does.