The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemned President Trump's "glorified" message of "physical violence" on Sunday, after he tweeted an edited video clip of a wrestling match between himself and his media rival CNN.
"We condemn the president's threat of physical violence against journalists. This tweet is beneath the office of the presidency. Sadly, it is not beneath this president," Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement. "No one should be threatened with physical harm for doing their jobs. Journalists are your neighbors, they're your friends."
The video clip from an old wrestling appearance shows Trump attacking and subduing a person whose face is obscured by a CNN logo.
Trump's Sunday tweet was in the latest in his frequent public attacks on CNN, which he has often slammed for being "fake news."
Brown said the role of journalism is critical to democracy, pointing to the provisions made in the Constitution.
"[The Founding Fathers] wrote that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,'' Brown said in part.
"Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy. The press are the people's window into the halls of power, and most importantly, they are the people's check on that power. When the president attacks the press, he attacks the people."
CNN also condemned the tweet in a Sunday statement.
"It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters," a CNN spokesperson told The Hill.