McCain hits Trump: 'Fake news' rhetoric 'empowers repressive regimes'

McCain hits Trump: 'Fake news' rhetoric 'empowers repressive regimes'
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's NASA nominee advances after floor drama Senate repeals auto-loan guidance in precedent-shattering vote Overnight Defense: Lawmakers worry over Syria strategy | Trump's base critical of strikes | Flake undecided on Pompeo | Coast Guard plans to keep allowing transgender members | GOP chair wants to cut B from Pentagon agencies MORE (R-Ariz.) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE on Wednesday for repeatedly labeling the media as “fake news," warning it "empowers repressive regimes to jail reporters & silence the truth."

In a tweet, he shared a new report that finds a record number of journalists were imprisoned in 2017.

“.@pressfreedom's annual report shows record # of journalists imprisoned worldwide in 2017, including 21 on "fake news" charges,” McCain tweeted. “@POTUS must understand his harmful rhetoric only empowers repressive regimes to jail reporters & silence the truth.”

The report, compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, found that 262 journalists worldwide have been imprisoned this year in retaliation over their work.

Trump often attacks journalists and reporters as “fake news,” especially those that are critical of him.

He has also used Twitter to attack specific reporters by name and demand their firing, including ABC News’s Brian Ross and The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel.

A Politico report last week found that authoritarian leaders in countries including Turkey, Syria, Venezuela and the Philippines have used the phrase “fake news” to delegitimize the media in their own countries.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Politico at the time the report was “really ridiculous.”

“The president isn’t against free speech but we do think reporting should be accurate,” she wrote in an email.

McCain has become a frequent critic of Trump, recently saying he has no “principles and beliefs.”