February 17, 2017 Last Updated 5:16 pm

New president calls the media ‘enemy of the American people’

The president of the United States late this afternoon went to Twitter to proclaim that “the enemy of the American People!” Because of the Twitter habits of Donald Trump the claim may not get much attention. Like his claim that President Obama was not born in the US, or his claim that climate change “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” it may be seen as merely more of the same, the ravings of a man who, somehow, became president, but is not to be taken seriously.

Still, this is the president of the United States calling the media “the enemy of the American People” and where do we go from here. This is our industry, publishing, news, history, entertainment. It is all of us that are under attack.

How is the country supposed to respond? Are universities to stop presenting journalist degrees? are high schools to shutdown their newspapers?

One would assume the answer would be “No” – but if so what else are we supposed to hear come out of the president’s mouth, read on his Twitter feed, that we are to not take seriously? Is the position of president now so demeaned that no one who ever occupies the Oval Office is to be taken seriously again?

Or is law enforcement to arrest editors and reporters, new laws to be passed to limit the media, is the Bill of Rights to be modified in regards to the First Amendment so that “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” become shortened?

The Coverage:

BuzzFeed News, Jim Dalrymple II:

President Trump Declares The News Media “The Enemy Of The American People”

Trump deleted the tweet moments after sending it out, then reposted it a few minutes later — this time adding CBS and ABC to the list of “enemy” media organizations, and removing the all caps “SICK!”

The White House did not immediately respond to a BuzzFeed News request for clarification Friday.

However, the tweet comes just a day after Trump held a combative and lengthy news conference in which he repeatedly accused various US news organizations of reporting “fake news.” He also emailed a survey to supporters designed to record his supporters’ anger at news organizations.

MSNBC, Steve Benen:

Attacking news organizations, Trump sees an ‘enemy’ of the people”

There is no doubt that every president has had conflicts with news organizations, but I hope it’s obvious that no president has ever tried to label many of the nation’s largest independent news organizations “the enemy” of the people.

Authoritarians speak this way; elected leaders in democracies do not. Trump isn’t just demonstrating a contempt for American journalism and First Amendment principles; he’s also playing a dangerous game by positioning himself as an authority figure who gets to label those who try to hold him accountable “the enemy.”

And ultimately, I think that’s what his unnerving assault against journalists and journalism is all about. Trump, after months of praise for the likes of Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein, sees the media as an enemy, not because news organizations are “liberal,” but because they stand in his way – checking his facts, shining a light on his actions, scrutinizing his agenda, and informing the electorate about the details of his presidency.

Associated Press:

The Latest: Trumo Calls Media ‘Enemy of the American People’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is criticizing President Donald Trump for going off message on Twitter and elsewhere.

McConnell tells reporters that “I’m not a great fan of daily tweets” — but adds that he is a fan of what Trump has actually been doing.

Politico, Jack Shafer:

Trump Hates the Press? Take a Number.

No White House has ever loved the press corps, and its current resident isn’t about to change that. Agnew could have filled an issue of the Columbia Journalism Review with his denunciations, judging from the work of scholar Norman P. Lewis. The press was publicizing protesters, who were really “tragic segments of our community that need therapy, not publicity.” It is “a sad comment that the headlines are won by those who attack our nation,” he said. Washington Post cartoonist Herb Block was a “master of sick invective,” Agnew averred, and “the liberal Eastern press” was “the organ grinders of the old elite.”

…We journalists make a good target, but politicians don’t understand that we all wear Ghost Shirts that protect us from the sharpest jabs. Good reporters know how to take a punch, how to recover from the humiliations handed out by politicians and pick themselves back up and return to their digging. Tell a reporter, “Shame on you,” and see what happens—even if he should be ashamed of himself, he’ll merely blush and restart the interview. We’re shameless that way, like door-to-door salesmen, inured to insults and only encouraged by a slammed door in the face.

Rex Huppke (Chicago Tribune columnist, but on his personal Twitter account):

Series of tweets:

OK, let’s talk about Trump calling the media “the enemy of the American people.” It is, first and foremost, appalling. That should go…

…without saying, but I guess there’s some disagreement these days about the value of a free press. I think that’s an un-American.

I think that’s offensive to the men and women who have fought and died, in part, so that we can have a free press. Not a day goes by…

…that I don’t think about how lucky I am to write what I want to write – to be critical, to make jokes, to vent anger – without fear…

…of being silenced by the government. And I know that right came on the backs of people far braver than I could ever be. So to hear…

…the president of this country call journalists the enemy – that makes me sick. Reporters can’t stand up and defend themselves…

So allow me to express my opinion in defense of the journalists out there who work long hours at low pay…

…to protect – you guessed it – American people. My colleagues at the Chicago Tribune have uncovered homes for adults with…

…disabilities that were actually losing human beings. They broke news about pharmacies dispatching deadly drug combinations…

…that led to major industry changes THAT WILL SAVE LIVES. Corrupt governors have been jailed. Crooked cops have been busted.

Criminals avoiding prosecution have been tracked down. Journalists are not the enemy of the American people. They are devoted to…

…the American people and to righting wrongs and making this world a better place. They are a crucial part of our democracy, and…

…the president of the United States can call them whatever he wants, but he will not stop them from doing his job. In fact, as he…

…stirs up more distractions by hurling verbal grenades in every direction, dedicated journalists are investigating all the things…

…he doesn’t want investigated. And they will uncover the truth. And when they do, we can revisit…

…the question of who is the enemy of the American people. I hope to God it isn’t the guy leading the country. But I can promise you…

…, with absolute certainty and with immense pride in the people I call colleagues, that it won’t be the media. Ever. We are not…

…the enemy. But we may well be the last line of defense between the enemy and the American people. Trump knows it. And he’s scared. 🔚

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