“I Have A Running War With The Media.” During a visit to CIA headquarters, President Donald Trump said he has “a running war with the media” and called reporters “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.”
President Donald Trump and his administration are engaged in an unprecedented war on the press, which began during his presidential campaign and continued into the transition period. Trump and his administration’s continued attacks on the press pose a distinct threat to our First Amendment freedoms, and we as journalists, who are the guardians of people’s freedom, are concerned about Trump’s rhetoric and its consequences on the freedom of the press and the safety of the lives of the media personnel at all.
The New York Times noted that Trump “unleash[ed] a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.” Trump accused the media of lying and claimed, “I think they’re going to pay a big price.”
The then Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that the Media “Engaged In Deliberately False Reporting” on inauguration crowd size. In his first official statement from the White House press briefing room on January 21, 2017, White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that “some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting.” He also falsely claimed that media reported “inaccurate numbers involving crowd size” at the inauguration and falsely claimed, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period.” Spicer added, “We’re going to hold the press accountable.”
The war with the media started the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as the President of the great nation, the United States. When inaccurate stories from the right wing media about accuracies around Trump’s claim that he would won the popular vote by millions if only the “illegal immigrants” were stopped from voting, Trump falsely claimed that the author of a Pew report on voter registration inaccuracies provided evidence of voter fraud. When Pew fact-checked the president, saying that the Pew Research said “they found no evidence of voter fraud,” Trump claimed the Pew author was “groveling again” and added “I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they write something that you want to hear but not necessarily millions of people want to hear, or have to hear.”
The New York Times reported that Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, attacked the entire mainstream media as “the opposition party” in an interview. Bannon lambasted the media’s “humiliating defeat” in incorrectly predicting Trump would lose the election and demanded that media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
On Fox & Friends, Kelly Conway, a chief media strategist at the Trump White House, suggested that “it’s dangerous to the democracy and for those around the world watching what we do and how this president is covered in his early days” for the press to call out Trump’s lies. Conway was suggesting that the American media close their eyes and ears to the lies of Trump day and in day out.
That poses me to the nest question. How many lies has Trump said since his inauguration? The Washington Post wrote recently; “Two years after taking the oath of office, President Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. That includes an astonishing 6,000-plus such claims in the president’s second year. Put another way: The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. But he hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year, almost triple the pace.”
The leading daily reported that in the first 100 days, the president made 492 unsupported claims. He managed to top that number just in the first three weeks of 2019. In October, as he was barnstorming the country in advance of the midterm elections, he made more than 1,200 false or misleading claims.
That brings us to our next question: How many times Trump has called the media and their reporting as “fake news?” President Donald Trump often dismisses news stories or media outlets that he doesn’t like as “fake news.” How often? A database of his public remarks contains 320 references in his first year in office to “fake news.” There are times, when he has labeled accurate news reporting as “fake news” or spread false information himself, while at the same time accusing the media of being “fake” or “dishonest.”
Recently, Trump even took credit for inventing the term. “Look, the media is fake,” Trump said in an interview with conservative pundit and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. “The media is — really, the word, I think one of the greatest of all terms I’ve come up with — is fake. I guess other people have used it perhaps over the years, but I’ve never noticed it.”
On his first full day in office, Trump visited the CIA and said of journalists: “They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number-one stop is exactly the opposite — exactly.”
Since the beginning of 2017, President Trump has invoked the phrase “fake news” hundreds of separate occasions. Virtually every instance has been in response to critical news coverage of himself.
Trump has used it when he felt he wasn’t getting enough credit for positive actions, such as helping Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. “We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates,” he said on Twitter.
He’s used the term after news channels simply reported what he said, such as his comments about white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va. “The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself, and the fake news,” Trump said at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix.
And he’s used the term repeated when news organizations have covered basic facts about the government’s own investigations into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election. “It is the same Fake News Media that said there is ‘no path to victory for Trump’ that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!” Trump said on Twitter.
Most often, PolitiFact found, his targets have been CNN, and NBC (19 mentions), followed by the New York Times and the Washington Post . It has been found that only one news outlet that had been singled out for praise during his discussions of fake news: Fox News.
Trump is particularly quick to label coverage “fake news” when the reports have unnamed sources, and unnamed sources seem to make Trump the most irate.
In tweet on August 5th, 2018, Trum wrote: “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!”
There have been calls for the media to boycott Trump. When a sitting President does not want to trust the media, calling it fake, just because the media is reporting accurately and showing to the world his blatant lies, why should a responsible media report on someone, who calls truth as “fake.”
In recent calls for boycott of Trump have been intensifying. Critiques of such calls can’t imagine being able to do their jobs without sitting in a White House Press Room and watching Sarah Huckabee Sanders act put out that people don’t like being lied to for an hour. “The White House is a lousy source of information about itself, but it is also the best available source,” New Yorker writer Masha Gessen argued. “It would mean walking away from politics altogether, which, for journalists, would be an abdication of responsibility.”
Reporters could stage a group protest. But that would make them look like they’re at war with the president, just as he always says they are. Or they could do nothing and effectively “submit to his authority to determine who gets to hold him accountable,” as the former Republican presidential strategist Steve Schmidt put it.
However, the fact remains, the White House press briefings exist not to share any valuable information, but to share disinformation. Sanders rarely tells the truth, and when she does, it’s either accidental or mundane information with no real news value. Trump himself lies even more, and often just for the hell of it — perhaps to make the point that he can lie about obvious things and still not lose power.
Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist and former White House adviser to Mr. Obama, saya: “That puts them in the middle of the story. The more they personalize this, the more it becomes a fight between the press and the president, as opposed to the press doing its job,” she added. “When they are covering the story, as opposed to being the story, they’re on firmer ground.”
It’s time to boycott a President who is anti- truth, anti-press, anti-civility, ant-diversity, anti-inclusiveness, anti-immigration, anti-scientific research; anti-ecology; anti-justice sytem…..The hateful rhetoric spewed forth from Donald Trump gets too much free airtime by the mainstream media. That needs to stop. He must be starved of free publicity and his rhetoric and false claims need to be ignored by the mainstream media and the general public.