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    Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif

    Press Freaks Out When Trump Threatens Them, Rolls Over When He Cracks Down

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    US President Donald Trump took aim at the cable news industry Wednesday, floating the possibility of revoking their press credentials as a response to their overwhelmingly negative coverage of his presidency.

    "The Fake News is working overtime," Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. "Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?"

    The president cited a report referenced on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning from the conservative content analysis organization Media Research Center, which said that 90 percent of broadcast evening news portrayed Trump negatively in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Washington Examiner.

    Needless to say, the Twitterverse was not amused with the president's suggestion and a number of verified, or "blue tick" accounts pounced on the opportunity to slam Trump's dictatorial crackdown on the free press.

    CNN's Chris Cillizza tweeted his article about the president's tweet, in which he calls Trump's proposal "authoritarian — but ultimately empty." He conceded that the media "does make mistakes," although he considers such instances rare. Trump's proposed punishment for "fake news" is "like saying a person who got into one accident in 25 years of driving was a terrible and dangerous driver," Cillizza argued.

    Prominent liberal journalist Jonathan Alter went further, calling Trump a dictator. "If Trump yanks ANY credentials, the entire White House press corps must walk out and say it won't return until he restores the credentials. Anything short of that is craven capitulation to a dictator," he tweeted in response to 45's rant.

    Political commentator and economist Robert Reich, who worked under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, tweeted "Like all tyrants in history, Trump wants to squelch dissent and equate criticism of him with fakery."

    The news website Vox tweeted that Trump was "using his Twitter bully pulpit to bully the press again."The ‘News Explainer' site is in part funded by Comcast and NBC Universal, which is also owned by Comcast.

    Condemnation of the idea was pretty much ubiquitous across liberal media.

    There's one problem, though: dozens of journalists have already had their credentials revoked under Trump and none of the aforementioned journalists, news organizations or thought leaders batted an eye.

    Reporters at RT America awoke on the morning of November 29, 2017, to an email from the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio & Television Correspondents' Galleries telling them they were no longer eligible to hold news credentials after a unanimous vote by the organization. That decision was grounded in RT America's forced registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The registration was set in motion by the US Department of Justice under Trump after the company was blamed for interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections.

    Congressman Adam Schiff even argued that RT spreads "disinformation as part of a Kremlin effort to undermine Western democracies," and that "FARA promotes transparency," in an April 2017 press release.

    While Trump certainly has a negative opinion of liberal cable news outlets, the American public holds the entire industry in low esteem, regardless of political persuasion. According to a 2018 Gallup survey with the Knight Foundation, 68 percent of Republicans view the news media unfavorably, while 46 percent of Democrats share their negative view.

    It shouldn't be overlooked, however, that the majority of Americans are affiliated with neither party. Only 24 percent of Americans adults identify as Republicans and just 29 percent identify as Democrats, leaving 45 percent of the American population unaffiliated as of April 2018. It isn't clear how they view the cable news industry.


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    Donald Trump, internet outrage, press freedom, United States
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