Donald Trump’s war against the media is escalating with each passing day, and it seems there will be no end to it in the foreseeable future. Is he purposely escalating the “fake media” war as a part of some larger strategy?
President Trump further intensified his attack on journalists via a speech at Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. He slammed the media outlets for creating fake stories.
Trump clarified his earlier tweet and blamed the media for misrepresenting the facts. He said that he had called the “fake news” as “the enemy of the people,” and not the entire press.
But the recent incident at White House has taken Donald Trump’s war against media to a different level. As reported by Politico, White House excluded reporters from media outlets it did not like, from a press conference held on Friday.
Customarily, the news briefing is open to all news organizations and is a televised coverage of the White House. As per his original schedule, Spicer was supposed to do the usual press briefing.
However, White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, decided to do the press conference off camera and with only a selected few news outlets.
The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Politico, CNN, The Hill, and LA Times were blocked from entering the press conference. On the other hand, right-leaning Breitbart, One America News, and Washington Times were all allowed.
— Marty Baron (@PostBaron) February 24, 2017
Donald Trump’s ranting against “fake media” is one thing but the actual blocking of free press from attending a White House press conference was totally unexpected and is being perceived by many as an attack on democracy.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of New York Times, said in a statement, “nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history.” While a statement by CNN said, “Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless.” While, David Frum, Senior Editor at The Atlantic wrote the following.
“If you’re a news outlet allowed into a Trump White House gaggle, you need to ask yourself: what am I doing wrong?”
Notwithstanding what people associated with media outlets that were blocked from the news conference said about the unfortunate incident, Sean Spicer himself had criticized the blocking of the free press in the past.
Donald Trump had revoked credentials of several reputable media outlets during his campaign. Defending the move back then, Spicer had made it clear that they would never do such as thing when they form the government. He had further added,
“There is something you can’t ban as an entity, that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship”.
Donald Trump has time and again tried to cast himself as the people’s champion in the war against establishments. It is believed that the media outlets banned from the press conference had reported negative coverage of the White House.
The New York Times had reported a story indicating repeated contacts between Russian intelligence officials and Trump’s campaign members. Similarly, Buzzfeed had posted dossier on alleged Donald Trump-Russia ties.
Donald Trump also lashed out at the anonymous sources used by media organizations, during his speech at the CPAC conference. He reiterated the fact that he was against “fake media” who make up sources and stories, as reported by Telegraph.
Trump added that media outlets should not be allowed to use sources unless they name them. He further added, “Let their name be out there, Let there be no more sources (anonymous).”
While Donald Trump continues his fight against media, it is worth noting that his first month in the White House shows dismal performance. There was no significant achievement for him as his biggest accomplishment, the travel and immigration order is still in courts.
To add to his woes, there have been several leaks from within his government, and several scandals have emerged implicating his associates. With no opposition to attack, Donald Trump is trying to shift the focus by attacking the media.
According to the latest poll released by Quinnipiac University poll, 76 percent of the Republican voters believe that Trump is telling the truth about the media, whereas 86 percent Democratic voters trust the media. This large variation between the Republicans and Democratic voters is baffling.
It appears that Donald Trump is trying to eradicate the credibility of the media by constantly attacking them and calling them “fake news.” But, the latest move of blocking non-friendly media outlets from a press conference is going too far in the strategy of attacking the media.
Is blocking the free press the first sign of tyranny? Let us know your views in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]