According to a new report from The New York Times, a group of conservative political operatives and activists supportive of President Donald Trump has complied dossiers of damaging information on journalists critical of the president.
The White House claims to be unaware of the operation, but the operatives involved in the loose network are allied with the administration, and some of them are close to the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
The group has already released damaging information about journalists at CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, in what is being described as an attempt to damage the credibility of members of the press critical of President Trump and his administration’s policies.
Although authentic, much of the material publicized so far is deliberately taken out of context in an effort to be “professionally harmful” to reporters, according to the NYT. Some of the material has been reported on and spread by right-wing media outlets supportive of the president’s agenda.
The group of operatives allegedly plans on releasing more potentially damaging information, and their efforts are expected to intensify as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
As the NYT put it, this is only “the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump popularized the term “fake news,” frequently using it to describe media organizations he perceives to be biased against his agenda or him personally. Since then, the president has ramped up his rhetoric, attacking journalists, and slamming the media as “enemies of the people.”
The NYT says a “loose network of conservative operatives” are compiling damaging personal information against journalists deemed unsympathetic to the Trump regime. https://t.co/NxodQSpInZ pic.twitter.com/zBiRIUpt0K
— Splinter (@splinter_news) August 25, 2019
For instance, Trump is now blaming the media for the state of the American economy. As Politico reported, the president is baseless accusing the press of trying to tank the economy in order to ensure that he does not win in 2020.
Economic data suggests that a recession could be around the corner, but that is — according to experts — a result of Trump’s fiscal policy which includes tax cuts, tariffs, and reckless spending.
In a Twitter message posted on Sunday, Trump — who is currently in France for the Group of Seven summit — claimed that even foreign leaders are shocked by how biased the American media is against him.
“Mr. President, why does the American media hate your Country so much? Why are they rooting for it to fail?” is allegedly what European and other leaders “who think the USA is doing so well and is stronger than ever before” keep asking Trump.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 19, 2019
Trump’s attacks on the media have already transcended rhetoric. Earlier this year, in what The Washington Post denounced as a “blueprint for making journalists into felons,” the Trump administration made a decision to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.