Aspiring dictators make such weird fashion choices.
Aspiring dictators make such weird fashion choices. Windover Way Photography /

Popular criticism of the "lamestream media" has morphed into an open distrust of journalism. A healthy amount of skepticism about the profession from critics at both ends of the political spectrum is really useful. It helps hold newspapers and broadcasters accountable to ethical standards as the reporters who work for those entities pursue their mission to publish information in the public interest. But this week, shit started to feel Orwellian, or apocalyptic, or just very early-to-mid-century German.

Yesterday, Donald Trump began spouting conspiracy theories about "a concerted, coordinated and vicious attack" from the media and Hillary Clinton, which only revealed that he was preparing to launch that very same kind of attack against the media and Hillary Clinton. See for reference Trump surrogate Ben Carson on Morning Joe this morning, lambasting "the media" for deflecting attention away from what "really matters," a.k.a the economy, so they can talk about what doesn't matter, a.k.a. women accusing the Republican presidential candidate of sexual assault following his boasts of sexually assaulting women. In any case, journalists—who really don't have the time for this shit—are speaking out.

Yesterday, CPJ chairman Sandra Mims Rowe (former editor of The Oregonian) blew the dust off her Journalism 101 book and threw it at Donald Trump.

In a powerful statement, she argues that a Donald Trump presidency would represent a threat to the freedom of the press. She lists the organization's primary concerns, including Trump's many personal attacks on journalists, his ejection of reporters from press conferences, his blacklisting of newspapers at rallies, and his admiration for leaders in countries that routinely kill journalists for doing their job. She reminds us that living in a country with a relatively free and independent press is an exception, not a rule around the world:

A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States, but the consequences for the rights of journalists around the world could be far more serious. Any failure of the United States to uphold its own standards emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own countries.

Meanwhile, The New York Times continues to parry Donald Trump's foolish legal threats with aplomb.

Meanwhile, this upcoming Monday, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman plans to turn herself in to authorities in North Dakota. They've accused her of trespassing, claiming that she was acting as a protestor and not as a journalist when she and her crew were covering the clashes between private security guards and self-described protectors at Standing Rock. In the Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi calls for the prosecuting attorney to drop the charges for a number of reasons, which mostly have to do with the fact that she's Amy Fucking Goodman:

Amy Goodman was clearly acting as a reporter at the protest. Moreover, she's as close to the ideal of what it means to be a journalist as one can get in this business.

This is what it looks like when a dictator tries to make a power grab in a democracy. And it's scary. It was scary back in May, when a Trump supporter in Lynden, WA flipped me off and said FUCK YOU when I told him I was a reporter. (Quit your laughing. I was reporting.) It was scary when a private security guard tried to tell Sydney to leave the rally that day.

This shit is scary:

So what should we do about all this?

BUY NEWSPAPERS, especially ones that support investigative journalism. Reporters at The Washington Post and the New York Times work to expose facts about this country that help us make decisions about how we want to treat each other and who we want to lead us. It's our job to listen, to read, and to think critically about all that.

So subscribe to the NYT! Subscribe to WaPo! Subscribe to—gasp—the Seattle Times! Because without newspapers, we're doomed to live in the dark.

Short on change? I'd be remiss if I didn't say that a free copy of the Stranger is always waiting for you right around the corner. (The paper is also available to far flung folks.) What valuable information has this rag revealed lately?

Well, there was that time yesterday when Sydney's reporting was referenced in the rape charges brought against Matt Hickey. Or that time two weeks ago when Ansel broke the story of the SPD secretly and illegally acquiring a social media surveillance tool. Or all of Ana Sofia's neighborhood reporting. Or all of Heidi's reporting on the homeless crisis. And if none of that does it for you, there is, of course, all that stuff about art and fucking.