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Steve Bannon goes as the military takes over the Trump administration

Ousting of Bannon as Chief White House Strategist leaves the generals in charge of the government

Alexander Mercouris

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The announcement of the ‘resignation’ of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon represents the culmination of a process which began with the equally forced ‘resignation’ of President Trump’s first National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn.

Individuals who were close to Donald Trump during his successful election campaign and who largely framed its terms – people like Bannon and Flynn – have been picked off one by one.

Taking their place is a strange coalition of former generals and former businessmen of essentially conventional Republican conservative views, which is cemented around three former generals who between them now have the levers of powers in their hands: General Kelly, the President’s new Chief of Staff, General H.R. McMaster, his National Security Adviser, and General Mattis, the Secretary of Defense.

In the case of Bannon, it is his clear that his ousting was insisted on by General Kelly, who is continuing to tighten his control of the White House.

Bannon’s removal – not coincidentally – has come at the same time that General H.R. McMaster is completing his purge of the remaining Flynn hold-overs on the staff of the National Security Council.

Bannon’s removal does not just remove from the White House a cunning political strategist.  It also removes the one senior official in the Trump administration who had any pretensions to be an ideologist and an intellectual.

In saying I should say that I for one do not rate Bannon as an ideologist and intellectual too highly.  Whilst there can be no doubt of Bannon’s media and campaigning skills, his ideological positions seem to me a mishmash of ideas – some more leftist than rightist – rather than a coherent platform.  I also happen to think that his actual influence on the President has been hugely exaggerated.

Since the inauguration I have not seen much evidence either of Bannon’s supposed influence on the President or of his famed political skills.

Bannon is sometimes credited as being the author of the President’s two travel ban Executive Orders.  I am sure this wrong.  The Executive Orders clearly originate with the wishes of the President himself.  If Bannon did have any role in them – which is possible – it would have been secondary to the President’s own.  I would add that in that case Bannon must take some of the blame for the disastrously incompetent execution of the first of these two Executive Orders, which set the scene for the legal challenges that followed.

The only occasion where it did seem to me that Bannon exercised real influence was in shaping the text of the speech the President delivered during his recent trip to Poland.

I have already made known my views of this speech. I think it was badly judged – managing to annoy both the Germans and the Russians at the same time – mistaken in many of its points, and the President has derived no political benefit from it.

However it is the closest thing to an ideological statement the President has made since he took office, and Bannon is widely believed – probably rightly – to have written it.

As for Bannon’s alleged political skills, he has completely failed to shield the President from the Russiagate scandal and appears to me to have done little or nothing to hold the President’s electoral base together, with Bannon having been almost invisible since the inauguration.

In view of Bannon’s ineffectiveness since the inauguration I doubt that his removal will make any difference to the Trump administration’s policies or to the support the President still has from his electoral base, most of whose members are unlikely to know much about Bannon anyway.

It is in a completely different respect – one wholly independent of President Trump’s success or failure as President – that the events of the last few weeks give cause for serious concern.

The events of the last year highlight the extent to which the US is in deep political crisis.

The US’s core electorate is becoming increasingly alienated from its political class; elements of the security services are openly operating independently of political control, and are working in alliance with sections of the Congress and the media – both now also widely despised – to bring down a constitutionally elected President, who they in turn despise.

All this is happening at the same time that there is growing criticism of the economic institutions of the US government, which since the 2008 financial crisis have seemed to side with a wealthy and unprincipled minority against the interests of the majority.

The only institution of the US state that still seems to be functioning as normal, and which appears to have retained a measure of public respect and support, is the military, which politically speaking seems increasingly to be calling the shots.

It is striking that the only officials President Trump can nominate to senior positions who do not immediately run into bitter opposition have been – apart from General Flynn, who was a special case – senior soldiers.

Now the military in the persons of Kelly, McMaster and Mattis find themselves at the heart of the US government to an extent that has never been true before in US history, even during the Presidencies of former military men like Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant or Dwight Eisenhower.

The last time that happened in a major Western nation – that the civilian institutions of the state had become so dysfunctional that the military as the only functioning institution left ended up dominating the nation’s government and deciding the nation’s policies – was in Germany in the lead up to the First World War.

Time will show what the results will be this time, but the German example is hardly a reassuring one.

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Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Watch out Donald, next thing there will be a “military” coup @the W.H. (LOL)!!!??

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Wrong! There was a time when military men ran the nation….before it even was a nation.
All hail the military junta! This is how America began – with George Washington’s act of treason and barracks officer’s coup. It is fitting that it should end this way. in the beginning was the end.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

Surely the name wqsgington lmust now be removed from any public space in the US now?

After all he had 350 slaves and slept with his slave girls like all the colonists did…

What should we call Washington in the future?

And what about those Memorials to Washington and Jefferson etc?

Surely they must be torn down?

PS And the disgraceful adulterer and liar William Jefferson Clinton must drop Jefferson from his name surely?!

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

WashedUpington?

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

OK…corrected…

Now please do answer my questions Franz…

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Yes, lets distract the dumbed down under educated USA Masses with taking down historical statues/memorials, transgender, gay, etc, so they never think to rise up against all that is really destroying them.

Ohh..and let’s provoke an ideological and leading to a real war between the races, while we’re at it.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

I prefer Americans tearing down their own monuments rather than their killing hundreds of thousands in the Middle East and spreading death and destuction like thay have throughout the region for the last 20 years and more…

And rather than their continuing to aid and abet the genocide of the Yemini People through US assistance and arms to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf ragheads……

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Tearing down monuments has and will have no effect on what you correctly state the USA perpetrates on the Middle East and elsewhere.

The same entities engineer all of this, in concert.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

To be fair, most of these monuments were not raised by the best of that nation. Nor was the intention a general appreciation of US history. And those who defend these monuments are even more under-educated than their counterparts. No few of them were pleased with US supremacism and interventionism in the past. In any case, let the Americans do what they please in their country as long as they do not actively undermine and destroy other states. The horrors of Syria and Ukraine, the latest in a long list of victims (with Venezuela looming ahead), are a good indication… Read more »

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

No argument there, or in my comment.

Berggeist
Guest
Berggeist

You are way off the mark with your comments.

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

I wouldn’t be surprised if they go for Obamaville or Clintonburg.I’m only have kidding on that. I think they are that stupid.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“PS And the disgraceful adulterer and liar William Jefferson Clinton must drop Jefferson from his name surely?!”

Those women whom he assaulted are taking care of that…here is what they are doing about WJC:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/18/bill-clintons-accusers-demand-removal-statue/
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/18/seven-monuments-of-accused-sexual-predator-bill-clinton/

Aurelio Ferdinand
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Aurelio Ferdinand

Don’t agree entirely with article, hmm! but I might asked has President Trump been bought over.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

The United States has now been taken over by a MILITARY JUNTA… Trump does not know his ass from his elbow in international affairs….He believes that international affairs are conducted like a Mobster organises a real estate deal in New York…aznd that he can threaten and extort what he wants in Washington… He is so dumb that he does not realise that as regards internationazl affairs, the Generals have bigger guns and means than a cheap New York mobster like Trump could ever imagine… And he is only now finding out that the US Congress is bought lock, stock and… Read more »

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

I am sorry. As an entitled North American Baby Boomer, Trump does not have the mettle, toughness and stubbornness to initiate the change that he knows is needed.

He thought the presidency was like getting a million dollar loan and a company from daddy in the 70’s and preceding to expand a real estate empire…….It’s not!

….Nowhere near the superior class of Alphas and game changers like Putin, Chavez, Nasrallah

Constantine
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Constantine

Agreed, especially with the choice of the three individuals you put for comparison.

my2Cents
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my2Cents

Keep talking….Is there more where this came from??? :-))

Simon
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Simon

If the Generals were to run Washington does that make the US more dangerous? Hardly. They already lose every war they ‘fight’. So what if they want more money, or to start another war – they can already do that anyway.
Better that they might have to also worry about Medicare and Social Security and street crime etc. The more problems the Pentagon have to deal with in their so-called ‘Homeland’, the less they can threaten the rest of us.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

LOL

Indeed, it ir rather encouraging that the Generals have taken over…

They have lost every war since Vietnam…

But they have succeeded in destroying the Middle East as a region though, which will take generations to put together again……

PS And if the ongoing disaster at the Veterans’ Administration is anything to go by, it would be preferable for the Generals not to interfee with Medicare and Social Security for fear of bankrupting them…

Drummer
Guest
Drummer

Correction: They’ve lost every war since Korea; and, they didn’t win WWII…the Russians did.

Rob Grune
Guest
Rob Grune

grammar… since Korea means the USA won Korea…. factually, it did not. in fact, the US did not win ww2, not ww1. but perhaps we can say the USA won the fight against Japan [ie a single country], and being the only military to ever have used an atomic weapon?

io
Guest
io

How about Grenada? Didn’t they save the natives from the coconuts?

ruca
Guest
ruca

Correction : Soviets

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

At the cost of 27 million Russians. They have my gratitude. .

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

A lot of dented American psyches. but you’re absolutely right.

ajokete
Guest
ajokete

First they came for Flynn, Donald Trump did not protest; then they came for …(please help me fill the gaps), Donald Trump did not protest, then they came for Bannon and Donald Trump did not protest, not long after they came for Donald Trump, and there is no Flynn and no Bannon to protest. Make America great again!

ajokete
Guest
ajokete

I so much love the picture on top. Who is the gorilla in the middle? This is kind of goons the US usually use to destabilize other countries, especially in Latin America. Chicken is coming home to roost.

JDo
Guest
JDo

USA has since quite some time been a failed state – only now it is becoming blatantly visible.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

Oh, yeah, une brochette des génerals, who were never able to win a war …

K Walker
Guest
K Walker

Attempted regime change taking place. Bannon had been referred to as a racist from the very beginning.This was beefed up during the Charlottsevlle melee along with a new level of hysteria in the press about the alt-right, white supremacy and neo-nazism. The next thing the public knew, Bannon was fired. We were good once.

uncle tungsten
Guest
uncle tungsten

Bad bad news for the USA. Generals from this craazy country might be good at losing but they are great at killing women children and anyone else they chose. The Trump and his tin pot generals are likely to bring the four horsemen of the apocalypse with them to many more corners of the earth. Take one look at their allies and you can see that we are all in for a grim time. The killers are in the house and that is never a good thing. At least Bannon was a lone somewhat sane voice about North Korea and… Read more »

GeorgeG
Guest
GeorgeG

“… that the civilian institutions of the state had become so dysfunctional that the military as the only functioning institution left ended up dominating the nation’s government and deciding the nation’s policies – was in Germany in the lead up to the First World War.” The Russians seem to have anticipated this, or — no, not anticipated, instead they have known it for some time. Word is that Generals Gerasimov and Mattis will meet next week to discuss setting up five more “deconfliction zones” in Syria. These two are not counterparts: Gerasimov is RF General Staff, so the military professional… Read more »

Popart 2015
Guest
Popart 2015

Who is the PUPPET now?

ghartwell
Guest

Every country despises instability. Trump on his own is unstable. Trump surrounded by idealogues was unstable. General Kelly represents order; made it clear from the start that he was in charge. Therefore, no surprise loose cannon Bannon is gone. We may now enter a time of stability in Trump’s presidency. Do not forget that military decisions on Syria differed from CIA actions. Do not forget that CIA is a deep state instrument with it’s own mind, purposes and powers. Do not forget CIA is the Nazi intelligence network imported and rebranded. What does this equal? Here is what it equals.… Read more »

Josie
Guest
Josie

And keep praying!

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

“Do not forget CIA is the Nazi intelligence network imported and rebranded.” Not Nazi but Soviet…We have become the Soviet Union. The National Socialismus Partei was extremely lucrative for Germany……it was the envy of Austria and the rest of Europe, and caused British as well as American Economist to be in awe of what was accomplished in such a very short period of time. Austria who was still struggling with the aftermath of WW1 and the depression BEGGED Germany for the Anschluss – which was a JOINING and was NOT an annexation as the American narrative implies. There was no… Read more »

Albert Westpy
Guest
Albert Westpy

Makes not a bit of difference. The real power is within the oligarchy who control the banks, large corporations, and the government. Most in government are no more than fronts for the interest of the oligarchy and themselves.

Shahna
Guest

So…. the US is now run by a military cabal – with Orange Fluff as a mascot?

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

The most frustrated in American society is the military. NO VICTORIES since 1946. Yet they consume over 50 % of the national budget.

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Bercow blocks Brexit vote, May turns to EU for lifeline (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s latest Brexit dilemma, as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, shocked the world by citing a 1604 precedent that now effectively blocks May’s third go around at trying to pass her treacherous Brexit deal through the parliament.

All power now rests with the Brussels, as to how, if and when the UK will be allowed to leave the European Union.

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Via Bloomberg


Theresa May claims Brexit is about taking back control. Ten days before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union, it looks like anything but.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow’s intervention, citing precedent dating back to 1604, to rule out a repeat vote on May’s already defeated departure deal leaves the prime minister exposed ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels.

Bercow, whose cries of “Orrdurrr! Orrdurrr!’’ to calm rowdy lawmakers have gained him a devoted international following, is now the pivotal figure in the Brexit battle. May’s team privately accuse him of trying to frustrate the U.K.’s exit from the EU, while the speaker’s admirers say he’s standing up for the rights of parliament against the executive.

If just one of the 27 other states declines May’s summit appeal to extend the divorce timetable, then the no-deal cliff edge looms for Britain’s departure on March 29. If they consent, it’s unclear how May can meet Bercow’s test that only a substantially different Brexit agreement merits another vote in parliament, since the EU insists it won’t reopen negotiations.

Caught between Bercow and Brussels, May’s room for maneuver is shrinking. Amid rumblings that their patience with the U.K. is near exhaustion, EU leaders are girding for the worst.

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President Putin signs law blocking fake news, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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ABC’s Ted Koppel admits mainstream media bias against Trump [Video]

The mainstream news media has traded informing the public for indoctrinating them, but the change got called out by an “old-school” journo.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Fox News reported on March 19th that one of America’s most well-known TV news anchors, Ted Koppel, noted that the once-great media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, have indeed traded journalistic excellence for hit pieces for political purposes. While political opinions in the mainstream press are certainly within the purview of any publication, this sort of writing can hardly be classified as “news” but as “Opinion” or more widely known, “Op-Ed.”

We have two videos on this. The first is the original clip showing the full statement that Mr. Koppel gave. It is illuminating, to say the least:

Tucker Carlson and Brit Hume, a former colleague of Mr. Koppel, added their comments on this admission in this second short video piece, shown here.

There are probably a number of people who have watched this two-year onslaught of slander and wondered why there cannot be a law preventing this sort of misleading reporting. Well, Russia passed a law to stop it, hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook. It is a smart law because it does not advocate imprisonment for bad actors in the media, but it does fine them.

Going to prison for reporting “the truth” looks very noble. Having to pay out of pocket for it is not so exciting.

Newsmax and Louder with Crowder both reported on this as well.

This situation of dishonest media has led to an astonishing 77% distrust rating among Americans of their news media, this statistic being reported by Politico in 2018. This represents a nearly diametric reversal in trust from the 72% trust rating the country’s news viewers gave their news outlets in 1972. These statistics come from Gallup polls taken through the years.

 

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