The Committee to Protect Journalists, April 16, 2020, released a report showing that Trump administration’s attacks on the press has corroded its credibility and destroyed powers of truth and consensus needed when the pandemic threatens thousands of American lives. As journalists report details of the administration’s failings, President Donald Trump responds, “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!” The report addresses the lack of access and how Trump uses tweets to disseminate falsehoods and makes suggestions for how the news media should respond. In a concluding section, it makes nine recommendations to the Trump administration for respecting the role of a free press in a democracy and redressing the damage it has done to the standing of the news media.
Leonard Downie, Jr., a journalism professor and former executive editor at the Washington Post, wrote the report. Downie notes, “Along with Trump’s thousands of documented false statements and his promotion of discredited conspiracy theories, the administration’s attacks on the credibility of the news media have dangerously undermined truth and consensus in a deeply divided country,” Downie, however, did not hold the news media blameless for the erosion of trust, maintaining that news outlets have allowed opinion to mix with straight news reporting thereby confusing viewers about which was which. (Courthouse News Service, April 16, 2020, by Tim Ryan)