The White House took a giant step in the wrong direction today when it blocked CNN, The New York Times, LA Times, Politico and BBC from the press meeting today. Breitbart news reporters were permitted to press briefings as was Fox News. Today reporters from both Time magazine and The Associated Press boycotted the press briefing today to stand in solidarity with the networks that weren’t allowed to be there.
I want you all to know that we are fighting fake news. It’s fake phony, fake. A few days ago, I called fake news ‘the enemy of the people’ and they are. Because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none.
-President Donald Trump speaking at CPAC
He made no clear differentiations between the mainstream media and the so-called “fake news” media. He attacked and condemned the use of anonymous sources in news, which he said were fake words created by an industry that Americans must fight against every day. He also said he would “do something about it.” His administration that day spoke out on a CNN story, but the source for that was anonymous.
The war on the media has reached new levels, ones that are unforeseen in the American presidency. Today, instead of a press briefing, Sean Spicer held a meeting in his office off-camera. The reporters from CNN, The New York Times, The LA Times, Politico and BBC were all barred from attending the meeting. Although small and very conservative media outlets like Breitbart were allowed to attend the meeting. Not only did Time and the Associated Press boycott the meeting, but the White House Correspondents Association condemned the action by the White House. White House senior adviser Steven Bannon has referred to the media as the “opposition party” several times, most recently at CPAC.
Clearly this is an escalation. President Trump’s charged rhetoric, enflamed rhetoric, is intended to undermine the work of the media in the U.S. But it also emboldens autocratic leaders around the world.
-Carlos Lauria, program director for the Americas Committee to Protect Journalists
Mr. Lauria said that leaders in Egypt, Venezuela, Russia and Turkey who all regularly obtain new powers “by marginalizing the independent media.” The goal of demonizing the press is to delegitimize criticisms of the government that could lead to a loss of power.
Such a framework is familiar in authoritarian countries where media is undermined, marginalized and attacked. It’s very, very troubling. It sets a terrible example for the rest of the world.
This is who our president is. He is a thin-skinned, conniving and dictator-like person. He sees a network that publishes something he doesn’t like, and they’re barred from participating in press meetings. This is the America we live in. An America where our leader calls the free press the enemy of the people, where his adviser calls them the opposition party, where people cheer to words of hostility towards journalists. I am genuinely and wholeheartedly disgusted, worried and frustrated by what is happening and what has happened. Who gets away with this? Why aren’t the Republicans in Congress speaking out about this? Because politics comes before country to them.
What does Paul Ryan have to say about this?
What does John McCain have to say about this?
What does Mitch McConnell have to say about this?
What do our leaders that we elected to preserve protect and defend our Constitution have to say about this? Because this writer who reads about these events too often is sick of it. I am sick of how someone like Donald Trump is able to do this. Can you imagine the outrage if Barack Obama did this? How Republicans would be gleefully yelling out “defend the Constitution” to crowds of constituents?
This isn’t a Democratic talking point. This shouldn’t be something Republicans have to defend on the Sunday talk shows. This is a time where we all need to band together not as Democrats or Republicans but as proud Americans and stop this man before we can’t. I am not overreacting to this, I don’t think you can overreact to something of this magnitude. I think this is the time where we end our divide, where we all realize what a mistake we’ve made by letting this man into the Oval Office.
It seems to me that the term ‘fake news’ is one of the most loaded two words in American politics today. I cannot even begin to comprehend how someone looks at CNN and says “that’s fake news”. Or opens The New York Times and looks in disgust at the fake news written on the paper. Fake news is not news that doesn’t paint you in a positive light, it’s not unfair news, it’s when the story downright isn’t true. If Donald Trump says that the media doesn’t like him, I would agree with that. Especially the ones that he banned from the briefing today. They don’t like him, I read these publications, I know what they write about. I know they don’t like Donald Trump, but that does not make them fake news. Fake news is pizza gate, it’s when the story isn’t true. Not when the story doesn’t paint a positive picture of you.
Donald Trump should know better than to go after the media because when you go after the media, it goes after you.