Journalists push back on Trump’s media attacks

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Journalists are standing in solidarity with CNN after President Trump tweeted a video of him beating an individual with a CNN logo superimposed over his face.

“I think it is unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media,” The New York Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which has devoted much of its work in the past to advocating for the press living under authoritarian governments, said the president’s actions are creating an environment where harassment is acceptable.

{mosads}“Targeting individual journalists or media outlets, on- or off-line, creates a chilling effect and fosters an environment where further harassment, or even physical attack, is deemed acceptable,” the organization wrote in a statement, adding the comments encourage “autocratic leaders around the world.”

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd criticized Trump’s use of Twitter, saying his tweets have overshadowed crucial policy initiatives for his administration, most notably healthcare.

“Amazing how much time and energy @POTUS is devoting to health care. All those tweets this weekend and that healthcare rally last night,” Todd tweeted.

“Saddest reactions I’ve received are those folks who mistake calls for decency in our discourse as some sort of evidence of bias. Ponder that,” he continued.


The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press also condemned the president’s tweet, saying in a statement: “No one should be threatened with physical harm for doing their jobs. Journalists are your neighbors, they’re your friends.”

CNN’s public relations team issued a statement following the tweet, saying, “It is a sad day when the President of the United State encourages violence against reporters,” a spokesperson for CNN said on Sunday.

The network’s public relations Twitter handle also quoted deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaking at a press briefing last week, presenting the comment in contrast to the president’s tweet.

“The President in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.’ – [Sarah Huckabee Sanders] 6/29/17,” the account tweeted at the president’s Twitter handle. 

CNN’s commentators and journalists also spent Sunday speaking out against the president’s latest attack on their network.

Veteran Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein spoke out against the president’s attack, labeling it as “anti-freedom of the press.”

“It’s very disturbing. There is nothing lighthearted about it whatsoever — it is an incitement, it is definitive, as I say, of the way this president views a free press and its exercise under the First Amendment to the Constitution,” Bernstein said on CNN.

ABC News and CNN commentator Ana Navarro issued a chilling warning to journalists moments after the tweet was posted, saying: “It is an incitement to violence. He is going to get somebody killed in the media.”

CNN’s chief media correspondent also raised the issue of Trump’s behavior, asking if the president was trying to imitate authoritarian strongmen.

“Is this president trying to impersonate Hugo Chavez? Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Vladimir Putin? Because this is exactly the kind of language that leaders use when they are trying to undermine the press,” Stelter said, invoking the former leader of Venezuela and the current leaders of Turkey and Russia. 

CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin voiced her concerns on Twitter, saying: “This scares me. Mr. President, please STOP.” 

The network’s senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, voiced his support for CNN in a tweet, saying he was proud to work at the network.

 Toobin went on to quote the First Amendment, and wished his followers a “happy Independence Day.”


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