Published: Sun, February 19, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Donald Trump just called the media the 'enemy of the American people'

Donald Trump just called the media the 'enemy of the American people'

Donald Trump took aim Friday at one of his favorite targets, the media, calling a number of news organizations the "enemy of the American People!"

Journalists have responded to Trump's attack with the hashtag #NotTheEnemy, which reminds Americans of the crucial public good that a free press provides, as well as the human cost of providing that service.

For Trump, that makes the media a awful inconvenience. His lengthy news conference Thursday was filled with media criticism.

Trump had tweeted an earlier post which targeted the New York Times, CNN, NBC "and many more" media - and ended with the exclamation "SICK!"

Incidentally, in a memorable exchange with CNN's Jim Acosta during the press conference, Trump again torched the network, proudly proclaiming that he will no longer refer to CNN as "fake news" - it is now "very fake news".

The expression was also a favorite of China's Mao Zedong, who used the "enemies of the people" label against anyone who opposed his policies.

"Well, I think you should take it seriously. But he would be wrong in regard to that statement and the White House and President Trump".

Trump has decried the leaks that have served as sources of these stories, hinting that he may direct the Justice Department to prioritize going after people in the government who are talking to journalists.

Trump himself, however, has emphasized the praise he received from right-wing commentator Rush Limbaugh, accusing the press of being dishonest in its accounts of the event.

"The press has become so dishonest, that if we don't talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people, a tremendous disservice, we have to talk about it. The level of dishonesty is out of control", the United States president said in the course of the conference.

"Donald Trump clearly is wanting to sell the story that the American media and journalists in particular are unfair". Those who support this president thought it was a brilliant takedown of a corrupt media. Then on Saturday President Trump held a rally in Florida partly because he wanted to speak to supporters "without the filter of the fake news".

When it comes to enemies, a demonized media is even more useful than the average antagonist.

I never thought I would hear a USA president say something so bluntly, viciously authoritarian in my lifetime.

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