Free press: Trump builds dangerous new world for journalists

President Donald Trump renewed his venomous attack on the press at his Tuesday, August 22 rally in Phoenix, calling the press “sick people” who “don’t like our country” and are “trying to takeaway our history and our heritage.” There are concerns that in the heated atmosphere after the Charlottesville debacle that the attack will increasingly put journalists in the cross-hairs. We are already seeing Cambodia using Trump’s anti-press remarks as justification for threats to shout down Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. Trump is also inspiring vigilante action against news outlets exemplified by cyber attacks on ProPublica with the publication of an article showing how tech companies were helping to finance extremist groups.  (The New York Times, August 232017, by Jim Rutenberg)

Trump also blamed social and political divisiveness in the country on the press and claimed that the press failed to report that after Charlottesville, he condemned the neo-nazis and racism. That failure, he said, showed how “dishonest” the press was.  (ABC News, August 23, 2017, by Karma Allen)

The effects of Trump’s vilification of the press play out in public confrontations that demonstrate the dangers journalists now face. Two men in Charlottesville were seen knocking cameras away and acting aggressively towards journalists trying to record the scene after a car hit the crowd killing one young woman. One was arrested for assault and battery for confronting The Hill reporter Taylor Lorenz and demanding she stop recording. When she ignored him, he punched her in the face. (Poynter Institute, August 21, 2017, by Brandon Shulleeta)


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