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Lt. Col. Vindman unveils plan to silence 'right-wing' media
Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the career government employee who testified against President Trump during the Democrats' first impeachment of the president, says "right-wing" media outlets should be sued to curb their influence.
Vindman, who was removed from his position on the National Security Council and escorted off White House grounds after Trump's acquittal a year ago, wrote in a commentary for the Lawfare blog that right-wing media have become radicalized.
He charged they "fueled" the "Big Lie of 'stolen elections' and 'evil Democrats'" to rouse people to "insurrection."
"The mob that attacked the Capitol was born of hatred fomented by the right-wing media. These insurrectionists were raised for years on a steady diet of disinformation and half-truths, which produced the fertile fields for radicalization," Vindman wrote.
He wants "accountability."
The Western Journal noted at the time of Trump's first impeachment that Vindman bypassed his chain of command to complain about the president's phone call with Ukraine's president, which is a breach of military ethics and conduct.
In his Lawfare commentary, Vindman wrote that after the impeachment trial, Trump criticized him and "proxies amplified these themes on television news, internet news, and social media."
"I’m afraid I did not respond forcefully to the threats and defamation," he said. "While the former president was likely immune from civil suit, I should have sued those who amplified his campaign of defamation. Holding those who defamed me accountable could have deterred further attacks against me and subsequent targets," he wrote.
The original source of the complaint about Trump's telephone call was an anonymous "whistleblower." But investigative reporter Byron York contends in a new book that the instigator was Vindman.
"[Vindman] was the only one who was disturbed by what took place. He was the only one who thought there was a problem there," York said in an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham.
York's book is "Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment's Never-Ending War on Trump."
"It didn't take a real rocket scientist that the source of this, the original source of this, was Lt. Col. Vindman," York said.
Vindman acknowledged that the First Amendment "gravely limits" the restriction of media, but he argued that news outlets can be sued for defamation.
"Why not hold the media accountable for the heinous insurrection where it hurts them most? By design, defamation law makes intentional, malicious lying an expensive habit, but this works only if people are willing to bring civil cases against the peddlers of disinformation."
He cited reports that he contends were part of "a comprehensive defamation campaign" carried out by Fox News, Laura Ingraham, John Yoo, Gateway Pundit, Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, American Greatness, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, the Federalist, One America News Network and others.
"I rationalized inaction, thinking that litigation against these media outlets and individuals would paint me as litigious and seeking personal gain. This was a mistake. Now, I propose a different solution: Legal action must be taken to rein in the right-wing media apparatus," he said.
When they "make baseless and outrageous claims about 'stolen elections,' 'communist Democrats,' and 'fascist main-stream media,' they are building on lies about individuals," Vindman claimed.
"They are galvanizing extremism on the back of defamation," he said.
"Civil consequences, rather than governmental restrictions on First Amendment rights, could be a meaningful way to take what are fundamentally money-making ventures and demand truth from them, instill rigor in their reporting, and uphold accountability," he wrote. "Putting companies in fear of the real costs in civil damages for slander, libel, and false claims that can cumulatively incite violence and that can individually harm actual human beings should have a restraining effect on their behavior."
The Western Journal noted Vindman remained Rep. Adam Schiff's "star witness" against Trump even though others, including Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, slammed Vindman for his behavior.
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