I seem to be educating future enemies of the American people.
Donald Trump has branded his critics in the US press “not my enemy” but the “enemy of the American people”, in a tweet that came a day after he launched a sustained attack on the media during a White House press conference.
In his latest barb aimed at US journalists, the Republican billionaire took to Twitter to accuse reporters of publishing “fake news” and singled out several broadcasters for criticism.
Asked by a CNN reporter how “real” leaks could generate “fake” stories, Mr Trump replied: “The reporting is fake. The public read newspapers, they see television. They don’t know if it is true or false because they are not involved.
“But I am involved, so I know when you’re telling the truth and when you’re not.” —Independent (UK)
The NYTimes offered some useful context:
Mr. Trump and his top advisers strongly believe that an elitist news media lost its credibility by failing to anticipate his political rise.
Still, the notion of the news media as an enemy of the public — especially when voiced by a sitting president — went a step beyond Mr. Trump’s usual rhetorical turns.
Mr. Trump’s tactic of pitting the press against the public was mirrored in a survey distributed by the president’s team on Thursday, which urged Trump supporters “to do your part to fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.”
Survey questions included, “Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?” and “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)”
Mr. Trump has deleted tweets in the past, sometimes to correct for typos or to refine his message, and publications are keeping track of these fleeting missives.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump expressed his distaste for journalists in more populist terms, saying, “much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests.” —Trump Calls the News Media “The Enemy of the American People” NYT
Here, branded with the Trump / Pence logo, is the “Mainstream Media Accountabllity Survey.” I couldn’t answer some questions, such as one that asks me which TV news I watch the most (I don’t watch any TV news), and some other “questions” were classic question-begging (on the order of “Are you aware that [very heavy-handed spin on an issue that we want you think of in our terms, not their terms, so that you’ll believe us when we label any alternate stand ‘FAKE’]?”).