Trump's War on the Press: The Press Fights Back

Donald Trump has been waging a war on the press since virtually the moment he announced his candidacy in July 2015.

In the first year of his campaign, Trump made "incredible personal attacks on members of the press, openly mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski; saying Fox debate moderator Megyn Kelly had 'blood coming out of her wherever'; ginning up outrage against the press at campaign events; and launching an all-out jeremiad against the media during a press conference, during which he called the press 'sleazy' and 'unbelievably dishonest.'"

He defended his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was accused of physically assaulting a female reporter, in addition to having allegedly "pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances."

Further, Trump blocked news organizations from his campaign events, revoking the press credentials of established institutions like the Washington Post, because he didn't like their coverage.

This was all before he started screaming "Fake news!" and elevating his war on the press to dangerous levels, as part of a demonstrable pattern Aphra Behn comprehensively documented.

Earlier this week, outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said that Trump's campaign against the media is "getting very close to incitement to violence" and has become reminiscent of hostility toward the press preceding the two world wars.

Already, we have come to a point where a majority of Republicans now believe that the press is an "enemy of the people."

The press is not above criticism. But Donald Trump's war on the free press is not "criticism." It is a sustained campaign to discredit reputable media institutions; to elevate propagandists; to intimidate individual reporters; to silence critics; and to make himself the arbiter of what constitutes "the truth."

This is a chapter right out of the authoritarian's playbook. It is an assault on the U.S. democracy.

Today, more than 300 news organizations in the U.S. and abroad are publishing editorials fighting back against Trump's attacks on the media and defending freedom of the press.

Erin Durkin at the Guardian reports:
The publications are participating in a push organized by the Boston Globe to run coordinated editorials denouncing what the paper called a "dirty war against the free press."

As of Wednesday morning, 343 publications had pledged to participate, said Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe's deputy managing editor overseeing the opinion page.

The Guardian has also joined the effort and has published an editorial alongside outlets around the United States.

"Donald Trump is not the first U.S. president to attack the press or to feel unfairly treated by it. But he is the first who appears to have a calculated and consistent policy of undermining, delegitimising and even endangering the press's work," the Guardian's editorial says.

...The hundreds of newspapers and sites participating include the New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Miami Herald. A host of smaller papers from cities and towns around the country are also joining in.
The Boston Globe will continue to lead the charge, compiling and sharing many of the editorials being published today. I hope they will consider removing their coverage from behind the paywall, at least for today, but, if you can't view it at their site, you can follow along on Twitter.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to share recommendations in comments, in addition to your own thoughts about Trump's heinous war on a free press.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus