President Donald Trump refused to back down Sunday on his describing “fake news” reporting by some journalists and media outlets as “the Enemy of the People.”
“The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE,” Trump tweeted. “I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!”
The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
Trump has previously used the phrase “enemy of the people” to disparage the “Fake News,” and explained in an Aug. 2, 2018, tweet that “They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!”
Even so, the label again hit the headlines last week when CNN’s Jim Acosta challenged White House press secretary Sarah Sanders during Thursday’s press briefing to denounce her boss’s use of the phrase.
Acosta’s grandstanding dominated coverage of the briefing — even though Sanders was preceded by presentations on Russian collusion by FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, national security adviser John Bolton and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Paul Nakasone.
The five senior Trump administration officials detailed the government’s efforts to counter Russian activities during the current and future election campaigns.
“Too bad a large portion of the Media refuses to report the lies and corruption having to do with the Rigged Witch Hunt — but that is why we call them FAKE NEWS!” Trump added, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump campaign officials.
Too bad a large portion of the Media refuses to report the lies and corruption having to do with the Rigged Witch Hunt – but that is why we call them FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
Trump’s Twitter usage Sunday fueled the continuing meltdown in the mainstream media.
For example, CNN’s Brian Stelter accused Trump on Twitter of leading “a hate movement” against the media.
Similarly, NBC News host Chuck Todd tweeted, “This is outrageous. I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to say to someone accusing me and my colleagues of causing war. I know he’s baiting us to respond. I’m taking the bait in hopes that rational folks realize this is wrong and dangerous.”
This is outrageous. I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to say to someone accusing me and my colleagues of causing war. I know he’s baiting us to respond. I’m taking the bait in hopes that rational folks realize this is wrong and dangerous. https://t.co/yhS3a8wEaU
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) August 5, 2018
During an interview with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Todd said, “I try to ignore [Trump’s] attacks on the press. But this morning, he seemed to go a bit overboard with this tweet.”
Although Blunt said he did not share Trump’s “point of view” on calling fake news reporting “the enemy of the people,” he noted that Trump’s frustration with the negative media coverage “seems to be something that a lot of Americans identify with.”
Todd wasn’t happy with Blunt’s answer.
“Yeah, but at some point, when you call a group of people — you other-ize them, the way he’s trying to do with the press, calling them sick and sort of dehumanizing them — it makes violence against the press easier to rationalize for some,” Todd argued. “That’s the concern that many news organizations have right now.”
Blunt noted that “you could certainly find people on the news saying things about the president that are not appropriate, either.”
“There’s a lot of in-depth psychology that goes on on some news stations every day, too,” Blunt said, referring the many media members’ decision to analyze Trump’s mental stability when they disagree with his policies, actions and words.
Todd pressed on, saying, “I guess the question is how do you convince the president that this is bad rhetoric? That this is dangerous rhetoric. Not just, you know, bad decorum.”
But Blunt said the president “really believes that a lot of the news is not accurate” and emphasized that “there’s a vast variety of how the same news is reported.”
“So, that middle-of-the-road news that people my age grew up with is no longer the news,” Blunt concluded.
Before Todd moved on from the topic, he said, “Well, I would respectfully disagree there, particularly on this show.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also defended Trump’s frustration against biased media members Sunday during an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
Conway insisted that she does not believe journalists are “the enemy of the people,” she said “some journalists are the enemy of the relevant” because of their “sins of omission” in their coverage of the president and his administration.
“That’s why he said it really refers to those who aren’t always telling the truth and who are giving emotion over information,” Conway said. “And I’ve got to tell you there is a large, a growing, swath of reporters … that are sitting in the press briefing room who have contracts on cable TV where they say things and they say things on Twitter they would not get away with in print.”