McCain: Dictators 'get started by suppressing free press'


(CNN)Sen. John McCain slammed President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media this week by noting dictators “get started by suppressing free press.”

It was a startling observation from a sitting member of Congress against the President of the United States, especially considering McCain is a member of Trump’s party.

The AZ senator said, “If you want to preserve – I’m very serious now – if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee said Americans must pay attention to history to understand the past connections between leaders of oppressive governments and efforts to stifle the media.

“They get started by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power – when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” McCain said. “And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

Trump tweeted Friday that media outlets were “the enemy of the American people”.


I am really sorry McCain won his re-election. He needs to retire. Trump is not on his way to be a dictator!


If you read the article, Sen McCain made it a point to say he didn’t think DT is trying to be. But that we need to be aware because attempts to suppress the media can be a first step.


A Republican with a spine.


Trump isn’t suppressing free press, he is simply calling them out when they run such biased and deceptive reporting. Seriously, watch the press conference, and then watch how incredibly biased and deceptive a lot of the reporting of it is. If Trump won, you would think these discussion panels would have at least 1 Trump supporter/voter on there to represent the other side.

Dictators control the press and they do it on the quiet to give the illusion of free press. Kind of like Clinton, the so called ‘free press’ a lot of them, were simply apologists for Clinton and her campaign, that are far greater signs of dictatorship than anything one can come up with in regards to Trump. So the greatest of Irony, is that if anyone deserves that label, it was Clinton and her campaign.

And you can tell, because even the slightest dirt that came up in regards to Trump, was heavily (and in many cases deceptively) covered by biased press, and yet when Clinton had serious allegations against her, they were downplayed and often ignored/brushed aside.

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That part is a bit confusing. You’re suggesting Clinton suppressed the media. Clinton never supressed them because she didn’t have to nor would she have had to if she won instead of Trump. Most journalists in America are liberal or on the left, roughly two thirds are. Personal biases leaking into the news is normal but many do purposely skew the news to favour a left-wing agenda.
As much as I like the predominantly left-wing news media getting called out, Trump’s petulant behaviour isn’t helpful. One day it may even backfire. It undermines legitimate criticisms of the media.


What is the difference? We know what he is insinuating.


If McCain had a spine he would have run a better campaign in 2008 and beat Obama and maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.


If media is suppressed, it’s not being done by calls of ‘fake news’ it would be being down by courts and legal systems and monopolies on media outlets, where several are owned by the same group to create the illusion. It’s done on the quiet.

The idea that President Trump is dictator like and suppressing free press is laughable considering how hostile they have been and still are to him. Is he not allowed to call out deceptive and biased reporting?

Clinton didn’t have to suppress media, because much of it was already in her back pocket. Which is why I think if we are looking for signs of dictatorship, Clinton would much more easily fit into that category simply because of how much of the media was toward her and her campaign.

I hope this has helped

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It clarified a lot.
Trump could avoid half of these accusations of him being a dictator if he simply had a bit more self-control and spoke calmly. He could learn a lot from Mike Pence.


I like Mike Pence too, but I think Trump is doing okay, I thought he actually handled himself well at his recent press conference. He defended himself well I thought, and it was funny to see how deceptive some of the media was on reporting even that lol.

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Yet once again he peddled half-truths and lies. For example, his claim that he won by more electoral college votes than any president since Reagan… which as a reporter later pointed out to him was a complete and utter lie.


Come on now. John McCain is a veteran and former pow.

If he did not have a spine as you say I doubt he would have been in that plane that got shot down in Vietnam.

Trump has insulted every veteran in attacking John McCain. It’s appalling.

I hope you reconsider your claim.


The left wants a dictator. The left needs a dictator. The left cannot function without a dictator. The left has been begging for one for decades - thought it had its messiah in Obama - but he could only change the signs on the restrooms. Bernie burned out under the bus and Hill was just a hill of beans - speechless. Now that someone who opposes the left (generally) is in power and keeping promises, the left is suffering incontinence and crying “Dictator! The sky is falling!”

This is the greatest political revelation of our lifetimes.


Trump is not Pence. LOL

Media hostility towards him is not because of his personality or his demeanor. He is their antithesis - his policy and what he stands for.

Deliberate attempt to demonize him is part of what they can do to bring him down probably with 2020 in mind.


CNN’s discussion panels frequently have Trump supporters. Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany and Paris Dennard are faces that come to my mind right away.


No. McCain’s spine had nothing to do with his defeat in 08. After 8 yrs of GWB and economic conditions at the time, I doubt any Republican could have beaten Obama. The same can be argued now in retrospect about 2016. Americans have a propensity to change the party in the WH every 2 or 3 terms. That goes way back for awhile now. Once in awhile like in 1980 with Jimmy Carter, a President is held to 1 term. Once in awhile a party makes it 3 terms such as the Reagan and HW Bush yrs.


Accuse your enemy of what you are yourself - that’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.


Right. Pointing things such as this out is merely good reporting. It is strange though the king of talking about “fake news” is the one spreading such fake information.


I declined to vote for McCain because I concluded that his judgment was questionable at best after he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. Nothing has happened since then to change my opinion. I don’t think Trump’s attacks on the media have anything to do with limiting free speech. To somehow insinuate that what the press is doing to Trump is just being adversarial in the sense of tough fair journalism is absurd. Now, what I will do if Palin becomes Ambassador to Canada, who knows. I do hope that does not happen.

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