Donald Trump bans even right-wing Daily Mail


This video from the USA says about itself:

Anti-Trump demonstrations held in cities around the globe

21 January 2017

Protesters in the tens of thousands snaked through the streets of London in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. From Paris to Prague, Rome to Berlin, even as far away as Japan and Australia, they are vastly different worlds united under one message. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

BBC, Guardian And Daily Mail Among Those Banned From White House Press Briefing

Just after Trump described them as the ‘enemy of the people’.

25/02/2017 11:14

Sarah Ann Harris, News Reporter, The Huffington Post UK

Donald Trump’s press secretary caused outrage after banning a number of news organisations, including the BBC, from a White House press briefing on Friday.

The Guardian and The Daily Mail were also blocked from the meeting in a move that has angered supporters of a free press’s role in a democracy.

That even the British Daily Mail, with its history of vile attacks on immigrants and other far-right policies, looks like being not far-right enough for the Trump administration is remarkable.

Maybe the Daily Mail angered the Trump administration with a few less far-right reports on police racism in Ferguson, Missouri?

President Donald Trump delivered a violent, ultra-right speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, attacking the media and reprising many of the “America First” themes outlined in his inauguration address one month ago: here.

Kuwait Celebration At Trump Hotel Raises Conflict Of Interest Questions. February 25, 20176:33 AM ET: here.

USA: Amnesty International starts campaign to free “dying” undocumented mom from ICE: here.

Dutch xenophobic politician Wilders boycotts TV debate because his brother was interviewed


Geert Wilders cartoon

In this Dutch cartoon, xenophobic politician Geert Wilders looks at his mirror image and says: ‘I am not alone’.

Today, Dutch NOS TV reports that Geert Wilders will boycott a TV election debate, organised by RTL commercial TV, Business News Radio and right-wing weekly Elsevier.

Wilders is angry because RTL TV had interviewed Geert‘s brother, Paul Wilders.

Paul Wilders said in the interview about Geert (translated):

He controls his empire [the PVV party] like an emperor. Whoever contradicts him seriously is finished. Family or not. He is still my brother. I love him, though I reject his ideas.”

Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch


This video says about itself:

Trump & Rupert Murdoch Team Up to Kill the Internet

8 January 2017

Donald Trump is reportedly seeking recommendations as to who should be the next FCC Chair from right-wing billionaire Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch is against net neutrality, as is Donald Trump, and together their FCC Chair choice will surely attempt to kill the internet by gutting the FCC’s current regulations which mandate net neutrality.

Source: here.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Murdoch was the voyeur to the Gove-Trump love-in

Friday 17th February 2017

BACK in January, I wrote a piece for the Morning Star arguing that Michael Gove’s bum-licky interview with newly elected US President Donald Trump was a gift from Murdoch, who wants to get in with the Donald.

I don’t write the headlines for my articles — in the newspaper world wonderful people known as subeditors or editors write headlines.

Their headlines are often the best bit, boiling down my ramblings into a punchy sentence.

For that story, the headline was the effective, if slightly yucky: “Murdoch sends Gove to stroke Trump.”

At the time, many other journalists literally didn’t mention Rupert Murdoch when discussing the Gove-Trump interview.

Because Gove is a journalist,

Until recently, he was a Conservative party government minister

other journalists give him an easy ride.

And, I guess, none of us like to admit how much we are influenced by our publishers.

But as readers of this column know, I think Gove can be best understood as an agent for Murdoch.

He has always worked for him and really owes his political career to Murdoch, as well as a £150,000 per year salary he currently gets.

Now the Financial Times has backed up the point that Gove went to Trump as a present from Murdoch.

They have revealed that Murdoch actually secretly sat in on the entire interview between Gove and Trump.

NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING Trump promised a revised version, which is written to skirt the court rulings on the original executive order: “We can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything, in some ways more.” [Reuters]

THE ‘LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE’ OF THE FIRST FAMILY’S TRAVEL SCHEDULE — THAT’S COSTING TAXPAYERS “Barely a month into the Trump presidency, the unusually elaborate lifestyle of America’s new first family is straining the Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far beyond what has been typical for past presidents — a price tag that, based on past assessments of presidential travel and security costs, could balloon into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of a four-year term.” [WaPo]

British government plan to jail journalists and whistleblowers


This video from Britain says about itself:

26 December 2016

Councils were given permission to carry out more than 55,000 days of covert surveillance over five years, including spying on people walking dogs, feeding pigeons and fly-tipping, the Guardian can reveal.

A mass freedom of information request has found 186 local authorities – two-thirds of the 283 that responded – used the government’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) [‘against terrorism‘] to gather evidence via secret listening devices, cameras and private detectives.

Among the detailed examples provided were Midlothian council using the powers to monitor dog barking and Allerdale borough council gathering evidence about who was guilty of feeding pigeons.

Wolverhampton used covert surveillance to check on the sale of dangerous toys and car clocking; Slough to aid an investigation into an illegal puppy farm; and Westminster to crack down on the selling of fireworks to children.

Surveillance has gone too far.

Maybe British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, during her recent visit to dictator Erdogan in Turkey to sell him British weapons, saw the persecution of journalists and dissidents in Turkey, and thought that would be a good idea for Britain as well?

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 13 February 2017

New Espionage Act under way to jail journalists and whistleblowers

THE Tory government is set to introduce a new Espionage Act under which its judiciary will be able to jail journalists and ordinary members of the public as spies for revealing information that the government demands be kept a secret.

The government’s advisers have recommended a ‘future-proofed’, draconian Act that will put leaking information and whistleblowing in the same category as spying for foreign powers and turn the UK into one big prison for basic democratic rights.

The plan is to treat whistleblowers, leakers and journalists as agents of a foreign power, even if they are British nationals, and even if they insisted that they were acting in the public interest. The recommendations of the UK Law Commission are contained in a 326-page consultation paper titled Protection of Official Data.

One legal expert said the new changes would see the maximum jail sentence increase from two years to 14 years; make it an offence to ‘obtain or gather’ rather than simply share official secrets; and to extend the scope of the law to cover information that damages ‘economic well-being’. ‘It is clearly an attempt to criminalise ordinary journalism,’ said Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group.

John Cooper QC, a leading criminal and human rights barrister who has served on two Law Commission working parties, added: ‘These reforms would potentially undermine some of the most important principles of an open democracy.’

Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship, said: ‘The proposed changes are frightening and have no place in a democracy, which relies on having mechanisms to hold the powerful to account. It is unthinkable that whistleblowers and those to whom they reveal their information should face jail for leaking and receiving information that is in the public interest.’

Such official data will range from the secret plans of the government for running down the NHS, to the functioning of the nuclear power industry, or any strategic industry. The Law Commission report asks, rhetorically, if ‘sensitive information relating to the economy should be brought within the scope of the legislation… in so far as it relates to national security’.

Alan Rusbridger, the former Guardian editor who published the Snowden revelations has commented that: ‘It is alarming that such a far-reaching proposed reform of laws which could be used to jail whistleblowers and journalists should have been drafted without any adequate consultation with free speech organisations.’

According to the Commission, the proposed ‘redrafted offence’ of espionage would ‘be capable of being committed by someone who not only communicates information, but also by someone who obtains or gathers it’.

To emphasise that the enemy is the whole of society it is being stipulated that there should be ‘no restriction on who can commit the offence,’ from hackers, leakers, elected politicians, journalists, NGOs or just citizens who have got themselves into a situation where they just know too much as far as the government and its secret state is concerned.

Cited as a primary reason for the new legislation is the fact that the former Guardian editor Rusbridger could not be thrown into prison for handling copies of ten documents that were passed to his reporters by Edward Snowden. As it was state agents could only threaten him with a gagging order and prison, and then force him to destroy newspaper computers.

A proposed feature of the new legislation is that British Embassies abroad, intelligence and security offices, and data centres not officially publicised by the government would be designated as ‘prohibited places’ or ‘protected sites’, making it an offence to publish information about them or to ‘approach, inspect, pass over or enter’ for any ‘purpose prejudicial’ to national security.

The proposed law would replace four Official Secrets Acts dating back to 1911, as well as a raft of other government restrictions on releasing information, providing extra powers instead. There should be no statutory public-interest defence for anyone accused of offences, the Commission says.

Turkish journalists persecuted for journalism


This 2013 video from the USA is called Panel: What’s Happening in Turkey? (Noam Chomsky‘s Talk)

By Akin Olgun:

‘A journalist’s only weapon is the truth’

Saturday 11th February 2017

AKIN OLGUN writes on the oppression journalists face in Turkey and highlighs the case of his arrested friend Ahmet Sik

A JOURNALIST, describes the Turkish author and investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, is “one that seeks the truth.”

It wasn’t long before Sik experienced the danger that comes with chasing the truth in Turkey.

Living in an authoritarian country and going after the truth means you are risking your life.

When you look at the number of journalists killed in different countries, you may not see the terrifying methods of oppression used by the authoritarian regimes there. But you should realise that the most courageous journalists are found under those regimes.

Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist and editor of the Agos newspaper who was assassinated in January 2007, summarised the situation facing journalists in Turkey when he said: “Either I really liked danger, or it liked me.”

If you are chasing the truth and you reveal it without distorting it then you are in danger. No authoritarian regime likes to hear criticism and it always sees such things as a “threat.”

But the truth is a journalist’s only weapon. The fact that those in power are scared of the person who holds the truth shows us what an illusion that power actually is.

The early 1990s were dark and unforgiving times in Turkey. Anyone who lived through them will tell you about the extrajudicial executions, the kidnappings and the missing people, the villages that were burned down and the Kurds who were killed.

They will tell you how no-one questioned the violence of the state.

Renault’s symbol became a symbol of fear for dissenters. In these cars, the counterinsurgency kidnapped people, many of whom were never found.

Every week the families of those missing people, who came to be known as “Saturday Mums,” held a sit-in at the Galatasaray square in Istanbul. For over 600 weeks, they continued to ask about the fate of their loved ones.

The reason I write this flashback is to begin the story of how the Turkish authorities tried to silence and label Ahmet Sik a threat, all because he took his camera wherever there were extrajudicial killings or state violence.

Metin Goktepe, a journalist at the Evrensel newspaper, was a close friend of Ahmet’s. In January 1996, Goktepe was following the story of the funerals of political convicts who were killed in an operation at the Istanbul Umraniye prison.

He was detained by police and taken to the same gym where hundreds of people who wanted to attend the funerals were being held. The police beat and killed him.

Sik and Goktepe’s journalist friends fought to get justice and put those responsible behind bars.

In June 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minster, described Sik’s unpublished book investigating the Gulen Movement’s infiltration of the judiciary, the police and the army as being more dangerous than a bomb. It was written during a time when the government and the Gulen Movement were allies conspiring together to conduct a witch hunt through illegal wiretapping and tracking. It was a time before the Gulen Movement was branded a terrorist organisation and blamed for the failed July 15 2016 coup.

Sik’s unpublished book, The Imam’s Army, landed him in jail for 375 days.

The reason Sik was released was because of the incessant campaigns from democracy groups and because the fight between the Gulen Movement and the government escalated, revealing cracks in their partnership.

Met by journalists at the doors of the prison upon his release, Sik said: “Everyone should know this. From all this oppression and persecution, a life that we yearn and fight for and a life that the government is scared of will blossom.”

After leaving the prison, Sik continued to chase news and write. The main media channels, that were under extreme pressure and control, found ways to keep him off the air and out of their papers. The method they used to do this was one of history’s most oppressive, censorship.

Sik began reporting on the jihadists crossing the Turkish border into Syria and investigating the forces that provided them with logistical support.

Right after, he started looking into the Turkish intelligence services and the government’s role in the shipment of arms across the border. This, once again, made him an enemy of the state.

He started receiving threats from those organising the shipments. He began noting down the people who would be responsible for things that might happen to him.

After spending time in London campaigning on the freedom of the press with the NGOs English PEN, Free World and Article 19, Sik returned to Turkey and found the country had been dragged into a new period of darkness.

Erdogan perceived the failed July 15 coup as “God’s gift” and used it as a chance to purge his erstwhile allies in the Gulen Movement. He did not hesitate to use this chance to label his political opponents terrorists and attack Kurds, opposition politicians, academics, journalists and writers.

Though the Gulen Movement had become enemy number one, its methods remained a friend of the government. Erdogan started taking away all democratic rights by implementing a state of emergency and issuing executive orders until “safety was restored.” What followed was Turkey’s largest state-sponsored witch hunt since the coup of September 12 1980.

Sik was once again a target. He knew that he would be arrested but he refused to stop seeking and reporting on the truth. “Just because we are worried,” he said, “doesn’t mean we have to hide the truth.”

On December 29 last year, Sik was once again detained by the police at his home. His ideas, his journalism and his social media feeds were classified as “terrorist propaganda” and used against him in court. Sik responded to questions by explaining what journalism is.

He told his prosecutors: “I believe that sharing the truth with the public without distorting or betraying it is a duty…

“It is a right for the public to know the truth and this right has been entrusted to the journalist.”

In 2011 Sik was arrested by Gulenists for exposing their corruption and brutality, but this time he is accused of operating terrorist propaganda in support of the Gulen movement.

Those who accused him realised that their accusations sound ridiculous and so have added support of the Kurdistan Workers Party to their accusations.

Ahmet Sik is currently still in jail.

According to data from the Journalists Association of Turkey, 780 journalists’ press cards were cancelled in 2016.

Over 800 journalists had to go in front of a judge because of what they wrote while 189 journalists were physically and verbally attacked. Over 150 publications have been shut down and over 140 journalists are under arrest.

In addition, 14 members of parliament from the HDP opposition, including the party’s co-leaders and 37 mayors, are in prison.

“Even under different gods, fascism is the only religion that doesn’t change,” tweeted Sik recently. I should add that there is now a separate case against him because of these words.

What can we do? That was the question.

There is only one thing. To tell the truth at the top of our voice.

“The emperor has no clothes.”

Akin Olgun is a Turkish freelance journalist and former political prisoner living in exile from Turkey.

United States journalists arrested for reporting on anti-Trump protests


This video says about itself:

25 January 2017

Several major international press freedom organizations have called for charges to be dropped against six journalists arrested while covering unrest in Washington DC on Donald Trump’s inauguration day last week. They all now face up to 10 years in prison.

RT America’s Alexander Rubinstein was among the journalists arrested along with protesters on January 20th. He has been charged with inciting a riot, the highest level offense under the District of Columbia’s public disturbances law. The reporters were released a day after being arrested, but still face court hearings. They could each be sentenced to 10 years behind bars and fined up to $25,000 if convicted. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for February and March, according to court filings.

In an official statement, RT’s press office slammed the charges against Rubinstein.

Read more: RT America reporter arrested while covering inauguration protests.

“The arrest and subsequent felony rioting charge against our reporter, Alexander Rubinstein, simply for doing his job – covering inauguration protests in Washington DC – is an absolute outrage. Such acts represent an egregious violation of journalistic freedom, and are particularly disheartening to witness in the country that positions itself as the global champion of free press,” the statement says.

“RT will apply the full weight of its legal team in support of our journalist and we are confident that a thorough review by the U.S. Attorney’s office will confirm that Alexander, who wore his press credentials at all times, was wrongfully arrested,” it added.

On Tuesday, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, called on authorities in the US to respect the right of journalists to report on public demonstrations and uphold freedom of the press.

“The media has a critical role to play in democracies by providing transparency as well as accountability of the exercise of state power. This public watchdog function is especially important around the time of elections and during changes of government, including at the time of inauguration. As long as it is not proved that journalists have taken a direct and active part in hostilities themselves, their activities during public demonstrations should be left unimpaired,” she said in an official statement published on the OSCE’s website.

The official added that the rights of journalists are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, as well as by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil Rights, which the United States has ratified.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also called for the felony charges against the journalists to be dropped, saying the organization is “alarmed by the new administration’s repeated attacks on the media and blatant disregard for facts in the first three days of Donald Trump’s presidency… RSF calls on Trump and his team to stop undermining the First Amendment and start defending it,” according to a statement on their website.

A New-York based non-governmental organization called the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also urged US authorities to abstain from persecuting media workers, while calling the charges against them “inappropriate.”

“These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests… We call on authorities in Washington to drop these charges immediately,” Carlos Lauria, senior Americas program coordinator, said in a statement on Tuesday, as cited by Sputnik news agency.

Among the six journalists charged are Jack Keller, a documentary producer for the web documentary series Story of America; Shay Horse, an independent photojournalist; live-streamer Matt Hopard and freelance reporter Aaron Cantu, as well as Vocativ journalist Evan Engel and Alexander Rubinstein of RT America. Rubinstein stressed that he showed his media credentials to police when he was arrested, but said it had made no difference.

“I was hit in the face with a flash grenade. It blinded me for a moment and my ears were ringing for a while… By the time I was done being treated and I could see again, we were encircled by police and I was told that everybody present would be arrested. It doesn’t matter that I’m press,” Rubinstein said.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

British journalists condemn arrests of US reporters covering protests

Thursday 26th January 2017

BRITISH journalists called yesterday for “disturbing” charges to be dropped against six US colleagues who were arrested while covering protests against Donald Trump’s inauguration.

National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet called on people to contact the billionaire bigot in protest and to express solidarity with the sextet, who face up to 10 years behind bars.

The journalists, including a documentary producer, a freelance reporter and a live-streamer, have been charged with a felony under Washington DC state law against rioting.

A police arrest report for five of the six journalists reads: “Numerous crimes were occurring in police presence.

“The crowd was observed enticing a riot by organising, promoting, encouraging and participating in acts of violence in furtherance of the riot.” However, no specific allegations have been made.

After appearing in court on Saturday, all six were released with further hearings set for February and March.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) warned Mr Trump against threats to press freedom and have also condemned the arrests.

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellange said: “We strongly condemn these unfair arrests of our US colleagues who were observing and documenting the atmosphere following Trump’s inauguration.”

Ms Stanistreet said: “Journalism is not a crime. Journalists, including NUJ members, were on the ground on the day doing their job — documenting the wide range of events and protests linked to the inauguration.

“Arresting journalists is a disturbing move at the beginning of a new administration already mired in controversy, and we are calling on the authorities to drop the charges immediately.” The journalists deny any wrongdoing.

This 16 January 2017 video from the USA is called Noam Chomsky – How to Deal with the Trump Presidency.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Trump starts war on facts

Thursday 26th January 2017

THE arrest of six journalists in the United States for coverage of the massive protests against President Donald Trump’s inauguration indicates what we can expect from his administration.

The vagueness of the police report on their arrests — “numerous crimes were occurring,” “the crowd was observed enticing [sic] a riot” — make it pretty obvious that the case against the six is weak.

This ugly incident is clearly a warning, a signal to the media that the Trump government is no respecter of a free media.

Nor is it isolated. This week the new president also slapped a media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency, banning its officials from updating social media or speaking to reporters.

An administration packed to the gills with climate change deniers is clearly unwilling to allow scientists to speak openly.

In place of evidence-based assessments we will enter the era of “alternative facts,” to use the delightful phrase coined by presidential counsellor Kellyanne Conway. In this corporate fairyland nothing that extracts a profit can be bad.

Environmentalism is “out of control” and anything that restricts the ability of big business to poison, pollute and lay waste our natural world in a short-term dash for cash has to be scrapped. This is clearly dangerous. But we should not exaggerate the difference it marks from the approach of previous administrations.

It is true that Barack Obama accepted the reality of climate change, and was a supporter of the Paris accord which Trump once stated he would withdraw from.

But despite the self-congratulatory rhetoric of US and EU leaders, the Paris agreement was a load of hot air.

It contains no enforcement mechanism to ensure countries do cut their emissions (Britain, as Labour’s Barry Gardiner pointed out earlier this week, is miserably failing to meet its own targets).

And the same governments that signed it were simultaneously pushing corporate trade deals which would effectively prevent any action on climate change — whether because subsidising or taxing certain products for being environmentally friendly or unfriendly is deemed a distortion of the market, or because polluting firms would gain the right to sue any government which put their profits at risk.

The world is heating up and rising sea levels, increasingly frequent extreme weather events and worsening droughts are likely to spell disaster for hundreds of millions of humans — but the entire direction of US-led Western policy was making this worse well before Trump was elected.

Similarly, the liberal hysteria over “post-truth” news rings hollow when the corporate and Establishment press has indulged and promoted government lies for decades, from hiding the truth about the police riot at Orgreave through the Iraq war to the deluge of misinformation we are spoon-fed today on everything from the Syrian war to the Southern dispute to the leader of the Labour Party.

These caveats do not detract from the appalling nature of the Trump regime, or from the need for solidarity with the six arrested journalists as well as with women, immigrants and all working people in the US as they face attacks by a viciously reactionary government. But a left fightback against Trump and “his Maggie” Theresa May must differentiate itself from the clapped-out pieties of a liberal era that created the problems we face.

Tackling climate change does not just mean agreeing that it exists — it means tackling and curbing the power of corporate giants. And that battle — for the rights of humanity and against the power and privilege of big business — is essential too if we want to raise wages or end insecure work.

It is a fight against capitalism, not a fight against one bigoted individual, however powerful.

THE DOW CLOSE OVER 20,000 FOR THE FIRST TIME The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a 120-year-old index of 30 stocks, has risen since Trump’s election due to investors’ belief that Trump will follow through on his “business-friendly” campaign promises. And here’s a graphical breakdown of the Dow’s rise over time. [WSJ | Paywall]

Donald Trump-Rupert Murdoch relationship


This video says about itself:

Trump & Rupert Murdoch Team Up to Kill the Internet

8 January 2017

Donald Trump is reportedly seeking recommendations as to who should be the next FCC Chair from right-wing billionaire Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch is against net neutrality, as is Donald Trump, and together their FCC Chair choice will surely attempt to kill the internet by gutting the FCC’s current regulations which mandate net neutrality.

Source: here.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Murdoch sends Gove to stroke Trump

Friday 20th January 2016

SOLOMON HUGHES explores the relationship between Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump and what it means for the United States

MICHAEL GOVE’S friendly “Thumbs Up” interview with US president-elect Donald Trump is a part of the rapprochement between The Donald and Rupert Murdoch.

Their relations were previously strained, showing an underlying rivalry, or even jealousy on Murdoch’s part. Their let’s-make-up routine also includes a Murdoch executive joining Trump’s cabinet.

The voters of Surrey Heath might think of Gove as their MP but he is more a Murdoch man, with a current salary of £150,000 a year from the Times for writing “columns” like his obsequious interview with Trump.

Gove is a perfect man to do Murdoch’s work with Trump as he is a long-term Rupert operative. Gove’s history makes it look like he is a kind of “Jason Bourne” who was “conditioned” by Murdoch’s “Operation Treadstone.”

In fact his whole identity was created in Murdoch’s “black site” in London’s Docklands. Gove was a Murdoch employee before he was a Tory MP. While he was an opposition MP, Gove was paid £60,000 a year as a Times columnist. This had two advantages. First, Murdoch was able to build up Gove’s profile, turning the squeaky nobody into a Tory name. And second, he was able to condition Gove to complete loyalty.

When Gove left government last year, he immediately started taking a new, larger salary from Murdoch’s Times. Gove was also given a £17,500 book contract by HarperCollins, a Murdoch “cut out” company.

But the Murdoch-Trump links go beyond a friendly interview with his trusted emissary Gove in a Murdoch paper. Trump is appointing most of his cabinet from the worst of the Republican Party rather than the even worse “Tea Party” or “alt-right” circles.

This includes nominating Elaine Chao as transportation secretary. Chao became a “non-executive” director of Murdoch’s News Corporation in 2012 and still sits on the board. Under US laws, Chao made a “financial disclosure” of her interests as part of her appointment to government. She says that in addition to her Murdoch salary she “will receive a cash payout” from News Corporation when she resigns from the board to become transportation secretary.

Murdoch will welcome these links to Trump to smooth over a past breach between the two ageing right-wing billionaires.

Murdoch’s hysterically right-wing US channel Fox News might well have helped give birth to the politics that formed Trump-ism but Murdoch was not initially keen on Donald. He and Fox backed Ben Carson for Republican nominee.

Trump’s misogynist “blood coming out of her whatever” barb was directed at Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who pressed Trump hard on his “character” and sexist comments in the campaign.

Murdoch’s break with Trump in part comes from their potential rivalry — had he not become president, Trump considered setting up a “Trump TV” which would have challenged Murdoch in the US market for right-wing ranting.

It might also stem from a jealousy. News UK insiders say Murdoch gives an impression that, seeing Trump’s success, he wishes he had used his media power to pursue a more open political career. He looks down on Trump and so is shocked that The Donald now has the top political prize.

The Murdoch-Trump break also seems intertwined with a small war against women in which Rupert is oddly on the right side. Murdoch set up Fox News with Roger Ailes, a sinister former aide of Richard Nixon. Ailes helped build Fox into the conservative mega-mouthpiece it became. Murdoch backed Kelly in her “feud” with Trump.

However, Ailes had to resign from Fox last July following allegations of gross sexual harassment against Fox women, including Kelly. Ailes then left to advise Trump, just as the future president’s “grab them by the pussy” remarks surfaced, where Donald boasted about committing sexual assaults.

Fox turned round to support Trump, but the damage was done. So Chao’s arrival in Team Trump creates a bridge between the rightwing mogul and the right-wing president.

It is, however, bad news for the United States. Chao was labour secretary under George “Dubya” Bush from 2001-2009.

US official watchdog the Government Accountability Office (similar to our National Audit Office) found her department “did not adequately pursue labour violations,” letting off employers who wrongly sacked or paid staff below minimum wage rates. Chao also cut mine inspectors’ jobs, and presided over two lethal mine disasters, which killed 15.

All this qualifies her to help Trump with his promise that “the American working class is going to strike back, finally.”

So the Gove-Trump interview isn’t just about Gove being a terrible sycophant to power. It’s about how billionaires try to negotiate political influence by promoting each other, stroking their egos and splurging their values across the media.