Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Trump Calls it "Fake News." Thomas Jefferson Said Pretty Much The Same Thing About Newspapers

The 3rd and 45th President Agreed on their view of the "Fake News Media."


April 16, 2017

Trump owns Mar A Lago; Jefferson owned Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence; Donald Trump wrote the Art of the Deal. Jefferson owned Monticello; Trump owns Mar A Lago.

Jefferson owned slaves, dozens of them. He had an affair and six children with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves. Trump employs hundreds of people, from construction people to lawyers to PR people.

Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, which is still a great university. Donald Trump founded Trump University; let's not go there. Thomas Jefferson was the Third US President, and is on the back of the nickel and the $10 bill . Donald Trump owns a lot of nickels and $10 bills.

The two men lived in very different times. Nevertheless, the Third and 45th Presidents would have agreed on one thing: Their view of the media.

Jefferson lived in a time before Youtube and Snapchat, before radio and television. The news media pretty much meant newspapers, and this is what Jefferson said about them, followed by what we think is a parallel Trumpian quote:

1. "The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper."--Thomas Jefferson

"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"--Donald J. Trump

2. "I deplore... the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them... These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food."

"Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, DC, along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system," Trump said in August 2016. "The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what's going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control."--Trump

3. "'From forty years' experience of the wretched guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in open daylight, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice."

"As you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth," Trump speaking at CIA's Langley HQ in January 2017.

4. "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day."

“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.”

5. "As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers."

"If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%," Trump said in August in one of seven anti-media tweets.

6. "A coalition of sentiments is not for the interest of printers... [T]he printers can never leave us in a state of perfect rest and union of opinion. They would be no longer useful and would have to go to the plough."

"It is not 'freedom of the press' when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!"

7. "I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time..."

“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”

8. "A truth now and then projecting into the ocean of newspaper lies serves like headlands to correct our course. Indeed, my skepticism as to everything I see in a newspaper makes me indifferent whether I ever see one."

Trump: "Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln: many of our greatest Presidents fought with the media, and called them out, often-times, on their lies. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said: 'Nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper'." Donald Trump

9. "The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors."

Jefferson is on Mt. Rushmore, and Trump's name is on the side of tall buildings throughout the world

“Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!”

10. "From a very early period of my life, I had laid it down as a rule of conduct, never to write a word for the public papers."

“My Twitter has become so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth.”

Sources for quotes: Trump quotes from

Jefferson quotes from


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