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Author: Raine    Date: 12/01/2016 14:22:06

Way back in the middle of November, it was widely reported that the President-Elect had a business meeting.
Last week, President-Elect Donald Trump took a break from his White House transition efforts to meet with three of his Indian business partners, raising yet more conflict-of-interest concerns regarding the relationship between the for-the-people Trump Administration and the for-profit Trump Organization. The Economic Times reports that Trump met Atul Chordia, Sagar Chordia, and Kalpesh Mehta at Trump Tower on Tuesday, after the trio flew to New York to congratulate Trump on his election victory. The three businessmen are building a Trump-branded apartment complex in western India, one of five luxury development projects underway in the country that have licensed the Trump name.

Around the same time, this story surfaced.
According to a report in the Argentine paper La Nacion, when President Mauricio Macri called Trump to congratulate him on winning the election, Trump used the opportunity to urge him to clear the way for a stalled office building development.

Talking Points Memo translated the story, which included comments from well-respected local journalist Jorge Lanata.

Today this happened.
There are few foreign policy topics quite as complicated as the relationship between India and Pakistan, South Asia’s nuclear-armed nemeses. Any world leader approaching the issue even obliquely must surely see the “Handle With Care” label from miles away, given the possibility of nuclear conflict.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, however, doesn’t seem to have read the memo, injecting a pronounced element of uncertainty about the position of the world’s only remaining superpower on this most complex of subjects in a call with the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

According to a readout of the conversation from the Pakistani authorities, he apparently agreed to visit the country and said he was “ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.” He reportedly added: “You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way.”

The hilarity of his hyperbole aside, Trump’s intervention could have serious consequences for both regional and global stability.

About that readout...
The full readout of the call, according to the Pakistani government, is below. Trump’s transition team has not released a readout.

The instances of all three of these stories are bothersome just for what they are. There is another, albeit more subtle, dangerous problem here: Not one of these stories originated with American journalism. Foreign media and foreign governments are reporting more about the transition than any of our reporters are.

There is a possibility that it won't get much better. This was published on November 7.
Trump not only refused to allow his traveling press corps to fly with him as Republican nominee, a break with tradition, but has ditched and mocked them for not keeping up. There is nothing here to give one confidence that he’d let reporters on Air Force One.

Journalists worry a lot about precedent because their access isn’t inscribed by law but hashed out through arrangements with the White House. Each presidential administration tangles with the White House press corps, but in the end, certain traditions are upheld. There’s nothing stopping Trump from deciding not to hold a daily press briefing or kicking media outlets off the White House grounds. His fans would likely love it.


Not only could Trump erode press freedom at home, but the Committee to Protect Journalists warned he was an unprecedented threat worldwide. “Any failure of the United States to uphold its own standards emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own countries,” the group said. “This appears to be of no concern to Trump, who indicated that he has no inclination to challenge governments on press freedom and the treatment of journalists.”

Trump has drawn comparisons to autocrats like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and has appeared unbothered by mentions of how they’ve cracked down on free expression.

It's easy to broad brush mainstream media and demonize them as though all outlets are responsible for crappy reporting. We can say these things. As individuals, we have that as a protected right. We won't have it if we don't have a free press, and right now, from all appearances, the PE is doing his damn best to silence our media. That's about as terrifying as what his foreign policy is shaping up to be.

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35 comments (Latest Comment: 12/01/2016 22:54:35 by Will in Chicago)
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