October 1, 2018

US — #WeeklyAddress: September 24 - September 30: President Trump denounces press as ‘fake news media’ at West Virginia rally

Below are the most notable incidents regarding threats to press freedom in the US during the week of September 24 - September 30:

President Trump denounces press as ‘fake news media’ at West Virginia rally

President Donald Trump denounced the press as “fake news” and journalists as “disgraceful political hacks” at a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia on September 29. He aired these criticisms against the press for its coverage of his June summit with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un and even pointed to the reporters in the arena. Attendees then began to chant “CNN sucks” when Trump referred to the press as the “enemy of the people,” as he has done before. “They report incorrect news. They report phony news,” he added. “When I say and come out with very, very strong statements about the media, I’m talking about the fake news media...” The president’s continual efforts to denounce the media and single our reporters at rallies has led to harassment and threats of violence, prompting some journalists and media organizations to heighten security and hire guards for reporters who cover the Trump administration.


President Trump accuses media of falsely reporting on assault allegations against him and calls reporters ‘fake’

President Donald Trump gave a rare solo press conference in New York City after delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly earlier that day, September 26, and accused the media of falsely reporting on the past sexual assault allegations against him, as well as calling reporters in the room “fake.” During the conference, President Trump addressed numerous inquiries about the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the past allegations against the president himself, to which President Trump responded that “the New York Times did false reporting” and “gave false quotes.” He concluded his response by remarking that “a lot of the news is fake and a lot of the people sitting here [at the press conference] are fake.” President Trump oftens refers to critical reporting as “fake” and has suggested that press credentials be revoked as a consequence.


Congress’ counter-drone proposals prompt concerns over First Amendment violations

Counter-drone amendments proposed by Congress in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act could prohibit journalists from using drones for news-gathering purposes. For more from RSF on this issue, read here: “US - RSF concerned about Congress’ counter-drone proposals and their impact on media coverage.”


The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index after falling 2 places in the last year.

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