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Meeting with Comey: Press reports alleged Trump threat to reporters

It’s alleged that Trump said in his meeting with then FBI director James Comey not only that Comey not investigate former national security adviser Michael Flynn, but also that something be done about the “pesky press,”  specifically putting reporters in jail for publishing classified information. (techdirt, May 18, 2017 by Tim Cushing)

Given the Trump administration’s hostile stance towards the media and the mounting controversy over Trump misdeeds, it is essential that courageous whistleblowers and reporters step up to shine the light on this administration so the public can gain the information needed to hold it accountable.  (Time, May 16, 2017, by Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union)

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, May 16, 2017,  released a statement about Trump’s reported threat to reporters: “The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line. But no president gets to jail journalists. Reporters are protected by judges and juries, by a congress that relies on them to stay informed, and by a Justice Department that for decades has honored the role of a free press by spurning prosecutions of journalists for publishing leaks of classified information. Comments such as these, emerging in the way they did, only remind us that every day public servants are reaching out to reporters to ensure the public is aware of the risks today to rule of law in this country. The president’s remarks should not intimidate the press but inspire it.”

Other news outlets including The Washington Post responded forcefully to the alleged Trump threat while Fox News and Breitbart News responded to current damaging stories about the Trump administration by criticizing The Times and The Post for its use of anonymous leakers. The U.S. has never charged a reporter under the Espionage Act as law and media experts argue the act applies to leakers rather than to publishers or journalists. (The New York Times, May 17, 2017, by Michael M. Grynbaum, Sydney Ember and Charlies Savage)

 

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