The most powerful office in the country also has the loudest and most attended to voice in the country. Usually the checks and balances of our governmental system can act to moderate that power. However, when the both houses of Congress are of the same political party as the executive, there is little moderation of presidential dictates and the people’s concerns are given short shrift.
The last line of defense to hold the government accountable for its words and actions is the freedom of the press clause of the Constitution. The path to loss of the people’s press begins when the powerful react to criticism by claiming that provable facts are lies and that lies are alternate facts. This is accomplished by spinning ever-larger untruths. The intensity of anti-press campaigns increases as the powerful feel increased pressure.
In extreme cases the leader will do a Joseph Goebbels and believe that: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”