President Donald Trump’s ongoing battle with the media continued this weekend, as he blasted journalists during a conference before labelling the media “the enemy of the American people!” on twitter.
On Friday, Trump tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
He earlier tweeted a post targeting the New York Times, CNN, NBC “and may more” ending the tweet by exclaiming “SICK!”
After deleing the first tweet, he reposted another version, adding two more “enemies” to the list.
On Thursday Trump launched a long diatribe against journalists during the news conference, blaming journalists for the problems his administration has faced in its first month and accusing them of failing to show respect towards his accomplishments.
His comments had some observers declaring that the Republican was veering dangerously close to infringing on the constitutionally protected freedom of the press.
“I love that part of the 1st Amendment that declares the press the enemy of the American people,” conservative commentator S.E. Cupps wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag “#TrumpsAmerica.”
Advisor to former president, Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, said that Trump’s continued criticism of the press is “a gift to authoritarians everywhere - will discredit any US efforts to support freedom of the press globally.”
“Bizarre” attack on “fake media”
Many reporters were taken aback by Thursday's press conference, described by some as bizarre, but Trump chose to echo praise her received from one rightwing commentator, posting: “'One of the most effective press conferences I've ever seen!' says Rush Limbaugh. Many agree. Yet FAKE MEDIA calls it differently! Dishonest."
During the conference, Trump argued: “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.
“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,” he said.
Trump’s campaign website and the Republican Party on Thursday posted a “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey” asking respondents to answer questions such as “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans?” as well as asking whether the party should be spending “more time and resources” to hold the media to account.
Speech in Florida
Trump travelled to Florida on Friday, saying that he wanted to be among his friends and family during a speech seen as a return to his campaign roots.
He once again targeted the media: “The White House is running so smoothly, so smoothly. I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.”
“They’ve become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system,” he added.
“Life is a campaign,” he told reporters on Air Force One ahead of the rally, adding “to make America great again is absolutely a campaign. It's not easy, especially when we're also fighting the press.”
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus warned the media to take heed of the denunciation.
“I think you should take it seriously,” Priebus told CBS in an interview on Saturday.
“I think that the problem we've got is that we're talking about bogus stories like the one in the New York Times, that we've had constant contact with Russian officials. The next day, the Wall Street Journal had a story that the intel community was not giving the president a full intelligence briefing. Both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown, and it's total garbage.”
Following this latest outburst against the media over the weekend, Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull offered some advice on how to deal with the press to his US counterpart.
At a press conference in New Zealand, Turnbull said: “Winston Churchill once said that politicians complaining about the newspapers is like a sailor complaining about the sea.
“There’s not much point. It’s the media we live with.
“We have to get our message across and we thank you all in the media for your kind attention,” he added with a smile.
Source: DCMF, AFP