While President Donald Trump often accuses media outlets like CNN and The Washington Post of being ‘fake news,’ one GOP state lawmaker is trying to make the hallmark label into an official title.
Tennessee State Rep. Micah Van Huss introduced a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly that would recognize CNN and The Washington Post as “fake news and part of the media wing of the Democratic Party.”
The Jonesborough Republican’s House Joint Resolution 779, which was introduced on Jan. 30, seeks to “recognize CNN and The Washington Post as fake news and condemn them for denigrating our citizens.”
The resolution opens with specific examples in which the liberal news outlets suggested that Trump used magic and “mind control” over the opinions of the Republican Party and claimed Trump supporters act like a cult.
The GOP representative argued in the bill that calling Trump supporters a “cult” muddles the definition of the term, undermines the political values of voters and increases polarization between parties.
“The cult diagnosis draws a line between Trump opponents and Trump supporters, and it oversimplifies the way people think and feel about their own beliefs and those on the other side of that line,” HJR 779 states.
Furthermore, the resolution argues that CNN and The Washington Post should be condemned “for denigrating our citizens and implying that they are weak-minded followers instead of people exercising their rights that our veterans paid for with their blood.”
Those accusations carry some significant weight given that CNN was just recently embroiled in controversy for the way a Don Lemon panel mocked Trump supporters as uneducated hicks with loose Southern accents.
Controversies such as the Don Lemon segment are what likely pushed Van Huss to introduce HJR 779 and even to post about it on his personal Facebook page.
The Tennessee representative said he filed it “on behalf of a constituency that’s tired of fake news and Republicans who don’t fight.”
A number of Facebook users voiced their support of the resolution, but some brought up concerns of violating the First Amendment.
“I like where you are going with this Micah BUT I do wonder when this will butt up against freedom of the press,” one Facebook user commented. “I realize that CNN and a few others are WAY biased toward the left. I am also aware of the extreme biased ones to the right, which in my mind is closer to the truth.”
The concerns may be valid, but it’s also important that CNN and The Washington Post are held accountable to journalistic standards, which would include being unbiased and not attacking people over their political affiliation.
Though it is unclear whether this bill will be the most effective way to handle the rapidly changing landscape of the media during the Trump administration, perhaps it will make a pointed statement to outlets like CNN and The Washington Post that the American people are sick and tired of being told what to think by the mainstream media.
HJR 779 was assigned to the Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee; as of Feb. 19, the bill was passed from the Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee to the Judiciary Committee.
The resolution is now on the Judiciary Committee’s calendar for Feb. 26.
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