That U.S. President Donald Trump has had an adversarial relationship with journalists since the beginning of his election campaign is no secret. Since assuming office, he has used various platforms at his disposal – his speeches at election rallies as well as his personal Twitter account to decry criticisms of his action by various American news publications as ‘fake news.’
However, his increasingly frequent attack on news media has drawn the condemnation of experts at the United Nations. UN experts have warned that the President’s personal attack on news media raises the risk of violence against journalists.
In a statement, David Kaye and Edison Lanza of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called the attacks "strategic" and said they undermined press freedom and "verifiable facts". Kaye and Lanza said the president's assaults "increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence", and were "designed to undermine confidence in reporting".
Trump’s latest attack on news media had come via Twitter in which he said, “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!”
Increasingly over the past year and a half, Donald Trump has singled out the Washington Post and CNN for publishing ‘fake news’ about him – from the number of people who attended his swearing in ceremony to the various developments in the ongoing Russian election interference investigation.
At a presidential rally in Florida on Tuesday, CNN filmed Trump's supporters yelling insults and swearing at reporters covering the event. CNN presenter Jim Acosta tweeted a clip, which contained strong language.
Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018
Last week the Trump Administration banned a CNN journalist from a White House event after she had thrown a question at the U.S. President about his former lawyer’s allegations of Trump’s knowledge of a payoff deal with playboy model Karen McDougal.
CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins had asked Trump about certain audio recordings taken by Michael Cohen, at a picture-taking session while Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Collins was the designated pool reporter at the photo op, meaning she was representing all the major U.S. television networks, when she asked the president questions about the recently released recording of Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.
The Trump Administration’s stand as viewing journalists and publications critical of them as the ‘enemies’ has also drawn criticism from news media that are pro-Republican Party and generally support Donald Trump’s presidency.
Jay Wallace, President of Fox News said, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press." Olivier Knox, President of the White House Correspondents’ Association denounced the White House’s stand against Collins, saying, “This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed and weak. It cannot stand…Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the President, helps hold those people accountable.”