WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump lashed out again at the news media, characterizing “fake news” as the country’s “greatest enemy.”
Trump appeared to be upset over the way that his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was reported on NBC and CNN. While outlets provided round-the-clock coverage and characterized the meeting as historic, there also was extensive scrutiny of the joint statement the two signed after their agreement and whether it represented a departure at past efforts at trying to get North Korea to end its nuclear program.
“So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning. “They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”
So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Trump’s characterization of “fake news” as the country’s “biggest enemy” is similar to his description of the media as the “enemy of the American people.” The latter came in a tweet that he sent on Feb. 17, when he wrote that “The FAKE NEWS media (failing
@nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Some Republicans on Capitol Hill criticized the tweet, and news organizations and First Amendment groups pushed back in response.
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Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s remarks “cross lines.” “I hope and pray that my FCC colleagues agree,” she wrote.
I believe in the First Amendment.
I believe in journalism.
I believe pronouncements like this cross lines.
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) June 13, 2018
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was asked about Trump’s attack on the media at a Senate hearing in March, 2017, and he said that he was a staunch defender of the First Amendment but did not want to wade into “the larger political debates.” In a subsequent letter to Senate Democrats, Pai said that he did not agree that the media was the “enemy of the American people” and noted that Trump had been referring to the “fake news.” (Trump, though, did single out the New York Times, CNN, and NBC News, as he singled out NBC and CNN in his tweet on Wednesday.)