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

McCain hits Trump: 'Fake news' rhetoric 'empowers repressive regimes'
© Getty Images

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate MORE (R-Ariz.) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US 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.”