Donald Trump has launched a full-out war on the press. Running a campaign based on false and baseless claims, he has targeted the media for its factual and necessary reporting — which is essential to political accountability and a democratic society.
Trump has attacked the media since the primaries and went so far as to create ablacklist of media outlets that were not allowed press credentials to attend his rallies. The list included BuzzFeed, Politico, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post.
During a campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday, the GOP nominee took his attacks to the next level. He said the media “will attack you, they will slander you, they will seek to destroy your career and your family.”
Here’s a look at some of the effects of Trump’s reckless statements about the media, directly from his Thursday rally:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) October 13, 2016
This guy is standing behind the press pen at the Trump rally heckling reporters as they try to work. “Clinton surrogate prostitutes!” pic.twitter.com/Pdf7S1gds3
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) October 13, 2016
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 13, 2016
Woman screams at press after Trump rally: “we’re mad at you!” pic.twitter.com/r5ewYTpfwB
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 13, 2016
Donald Trump’s statements are dangerous especially given how his supporters respond to his rhetoric. His words do not exist in a vacuum, and they have deep effects on press freedom. The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement on Thursday calling the GOP nominee a threat to press freedom. Part of their statement reads as follows:
Guaranteeing the free flow of information to citizens through a robust, independent press is essential to American democracy. For more than 200 years this founding principle has protected journalists in the United States and inspired those around the world, including brave journalists facing violence, censorship, and government repression.
Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. On October 6, CPJ’s board of directors passed a resolution declaring Trump an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ’s ability to advocate for press freedom around the world.
Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as “dishonest” and “scum” and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.