Trump State Dept Blocks Info From Mainstream Media, Faith-Based Only

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Underneath the neverending news cycle generated by President Donald Trump’s outlandish behavior, the Trump administration continues to reshape American policy in widely disturbing ways. This Monday, CNN’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski shared that the State Department was holding a special informational call that only “faith-based media” were invited to be a part of.

She explained on Twitter:

‘The State Dept is holding a special informational call today. But the State Dept press corps wasn’t invited. Being told it’s for “faith-based media only”…’

Screenshot-2019-03-18-at-4.57.19-PM Trump State Dept Blocks Info From Mainstream Media, Faith-Based Only Donald Trump Media Politics Top Stories

Quite simply, that arrangement could fly in the face of Constitutional demands for freedom of the press. The Bill of Rights explicitly lays out a pair of principles relevant here, including in the First Amendment:

‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion… or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’

It’s amazing that the United States has gotten to a place where some have to be reminded about the First Amendment!

While the principle most explicitly covers “laws” that tend a particular discriminatory direction, to suggest the amendment’s principle isn’t relevant here would be outlandish. Does this call represent a new principle inside the State Department of prioritizing “faith-based media” in information distribution? Few are under any illusion that the “faith-based” designation has a very particular religion in mind.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has explicitly and repeatedly phrased his foreign policy positions in fundamentalist Christian terminology. In 2015, while a Republican Congressman from Kansas, he described politics as “a never-ending struggle… until the Rapture,” referring to the Protestant Christian belief that in the “end times,” they will be taken to heaven before the worst of the worst gets underway on earth during the apocalypse.

During that same speech, he even more explicitly intertwined his nationalism and his faith, asserting that “to worship our lord and celebrate our nation at the same place is not only our right, it is our duty.”

Elsewhere, he has used specifically fundamentalist Christian language to describe what one actually does in that political struggle of the ages, saying that Islamic terrorists are “destined to continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior and the only true solution for our world.”

This is the guy we’re supposed to trust to lead the United States’ foreign policy!

Anonymous sources from Pompeo’s pre-State Department time as CIA Director told Foreign Policy that the religious imagery freely flowed through his rhetoric there too.

At present, it’s unclear what further ramifications there may be from the latest apparent expression of Pompeo’s ideology via the call for “faith-based media only.”

This Monday, Pompeo visited his home state of Kansas as part of the “Road to GES,” meaning the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an event the State Department hosts jointly with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It’s not the first time the Trump administration has come under scrutiny for its treatment of the media. They tried unsuccessfully to ban CNN’s Jim Acosta from the White House on the basis of false allegations that he’d essentially been physically violent with an intern.

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