Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New territory?

I admire David Cay Johnston's investigative work.  He has been a NY Times reporter on the tax beat, gave the Tillinghast International Tax Lecture at NYU once, and recently has been publishing in the Daily Beast, among other places.  A number of his recent columns, such as this one most recently. concern tax and other matters relating to Donald Trump, whose history Johnston has been investigating for some years (predating the 2016 campaign).  He has a book on Trump coming out shortly.  Among the topics I presume it will cover is Trump's mob ties, which he has discussed, for example, here.

Given the unique times that we are living through these days, I seriously wonder: What happens to unfriendly investigative reporters if Trump wins the election?  That's not the sort of question I've ever thought it necessary to ask before, in the U.S. context - even Nixon's enemies list seems to have been largely a matter of venting.*  But we are in new territory, with a candidate who likes to talk about loosening the libel laws, and who threatened Amazon and Jeff Bezos because he didn't like some articles in the Washington Post, and who openly admires Vladimir Putin.
*Of course, we'll never really know what Nixon's second term might have looked like, had he kept on riding high after the POWs came home, instead of getting consumed by Watergate. But aides such as Haldeman appear to have been fairly vigilant about limiting the crazy stuff that he actually did.

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