×

Trump Sued by Literary Group Over His Attacks on the Media, Threats of Retaliation

WASHINGTON — PEN America, an organization representing writers and literary professionals, filed suit against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, claiming he has used regulatory enforcement powers to attack media outlets in violation of the First Amendment.

“He has threatened to engage, and has engaged, in conduct intended to retaliate against specific news organizations and journalists whose content and viewpoints displease him,” the lawsuit stated. “Through his actions, Defendant Trump has intentionally conveyed to all writers and journalists that if he objects to their coverage, they may be subject to retaliation by the federal government.”

Specifically cited are the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, in the wake of Trump’s attacks on Time Warner unit CNN.

“While that lawsuit did not succeed in the District Court, the litigation cost CNN’s parent significant resources, including money, time, and opportunity costs,” the lawsuit said. “Those litigation costs continue as the President’s Administration pursues an appeal.”

Another example is Trump’s executive order directing the U.S. Postal Service to examine the shipping rates that it offers companies like Amazon. Trump has called out Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, as he also owns The Washington Post. Trump has railed against the Post’s coverage of his administration.

“On information and belief, he then personally directed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon and other firms to ship packages,” the lawsuit stated. “On October 11, 2018, the Postal Service announced proposed rate increases, including a proposed 12-percent increase for the Parcel Select service used by Amazon.”

Also cited are threats to take away the credentials of White House reporters “whose coverage displeases him and has threatened to challenge NBC’s and other television stations’ broadcast licenses in retaliation for coverage he disliked.”

The lawsuit stated that Trump “has made eminently clear his disdain for the press and the legal protections the First Amendment affords it. He has frequently referred to journalists covering his rallies as ‘disgusting’ and has stated, more generally, that it is ‘frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write’ and that ‘people should look into that.'”

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Trump violated the First Amendment, and an injunction blocking him from using his office to retaliate against speech critical of his administration. PEN America is represented in the case by the nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.

 

More Politics

  • Pete Buttigieg Show Business Donations

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg Is Totally Up for Booking Phish For His Inauguration

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign seems to be going Phish-ing… in the best possible sense. (Unless you just hate the band Phish so much there is no best possible sense.) The Democratic presidential candidate has previously indicated his love for the group, and when a reporter suggested Phish play at his theoretical swearing-in festivities in 2021, [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

  • Mueller Report Released: Networks Cut the

    Networks Curb Their Enthusiasm, William Barr Flexes as Mueller Report Goes Public

    The run-up to Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the conduct of President Donald Trump suggested it was just one component part of a busy news day, something close to business as usual. And the broadcast — in which Barr stormily defended the President as [...]

  • Mueller Report: Redacted Version of Trump

    Mueller's Report Details Possible Trump Obstruction but Reaches No Conclusion

    WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation leaves open the question of whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice, making clear that Trump was not exonerated. That was one of many takeaways after a redacted version of the highly anticipated document was released to the public on Thursday, captivating Congress, [...]

  • Attorney General Says Mueller Report Redactions

    Attorney General William Barr Defends Trump, Says Mueller Report Redactions Will Be 'Limited'

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr, in a press conference in advance of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, said that the redactions will be limited. But speaking to reporters on Thursday, Barr also offered what amounted to a defense of President Trump’s conduct as Mueller’s investigation unfolded, in what Democrats and other [...]

  • Feu cath'drale Notre Dame de Paris.

    Disney Pledges $5 Million to Help Rebuild Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral

    The Walt Disney Co. has joined a number of other companies in pledging $5 million towards the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, the iconic Paris landmark damaged this week by a massive fire. Disney CEO Bob Iger said the cathedral, which featured in the company’s 1996 animated adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content