President Trump is not known for his subtlety. But even by this standard, his tweet Friday night was extreme. Trump called the news media “the enemy of the American People.
US President Donald Trump is continuing his attacks on the country’s media, calling a number of news organizations the “enemy of the American people” in an extraordinary rebuke of the press.
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” he wrote on Twitter posted on Friday.
Trump has repeatedly accused the political press of being deceitful. His latest tweet came one day after he held a press conference in the White House where he lambasted the media as “dishonest” and “fake news.”
“Many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth. And will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve,” Trump said at Thursday’s press conference.
“The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people,” he said.
“The public doesn’t believe you people anymore,” Trump added. “Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you.”
The Society of Professional Journalists condemned Trump’s tweet. “An attack on a free press by a sitting US president is a slap in the face to democracy, our country’s founders and the American people,” it wrote.
Veteran journalists say the language that Trump used on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to curtail political opposition.
“Donald Trump is demonstrating an authoritarian attitude and inclination that shows no understanding of the role of the free press,” said Carl Bernstein, the journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration.
Trump’s language “may be more insidious and dangerous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press,” Bernstein said.