Donald Trump suggested taking away the credentials of reporters who write negative stories about him, Time is reporting.
During Wednesday morning’s Fox & Friends, the talk show cited a report from conservative media watchdog group Media Research Center that claimed that 90 percent of the reporting about Trump on network news portrays the 45th president negatively and focused primarily on scandals and controversies, such as the Russia investigation and a $130,000 payout to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Not long afterward, Trump, using the phrase “Fake News,” took to Twitter to suggest taking away the credentials of reporters who report negatively on him.
“The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?”
There are a few problems with that idea, says Time writer Maya Rhodan. For starters, Trump said back in 2015 that he would never do such a thing. At the time, Time Bureau Chief Michael Scherer asked Trump for assurance that he (Trump) would promise not to revoke press credentials of “unfair” reporters.
“Oh yeah, I would do that. It doesn’t mean I’d be nice to them. I tend to do what I do. If people aren’t treating me right, I don’t treat them right.”
Another problem is that the Trump administration tried this at least once before, with unsatisfactory (for Trump) results. Back in 2017, then-White House Press Secretary barred reporters from certain news outlets from a press conference. The move was harshly criticized and hasn’t been repeated.
This, and most importantly, revoking the White House press credentials of certain reporters based on their coverage of the administration may actually be illegal. Back during the Nixon administration, a federal court ruled that, for a president to bar a reporter based on their reporting, would likely violate the First Amendment.
“White House press facilities having been made publicly available as a source of information for newsmen, the protection afforded news gathering under the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press, requires that this access not be denied arbitrarily or for less than compelling reasons.”
Donald Trump’s hostility to the press has been evident since even before he became president. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the U.S. has dropped several places on the World Press Freedom Index since Trump became president. Reporters Without Borders cites Trump’s repeated use of the term “Fake News,” his threats to revoke press credentials, and even instances of journalists being arrested and/or beaten up, as reasons for the drop.