Trump’s Assaults against News Media are Heightening Security Concerns< < Back to
The incessant drumbeat of news media criticism by President Donald J. Trump is causing some major concerns among the press and First Amendment advocates, according to veteran, award-winning journalist Andrew Alexander.
Alexander is a former Washington Post ombudsman, a former Washington Bureau chief for Cox Newspapers and an award winning veteran journalist with more than four decades of experience.
He says that the characterization of news media as “enemies of the people” has both domestic and global ramifications.
In this podcast, Alexander spells out some of the dangers this President poses to the First Amendment and how Trump differs—in that regard from past Presidents.
Alexander notes that the phrase “enemies of the people” is one that Vladimir Lenin used to characterized the news media during the communist takeover of the former Soviet Union. Reporters who were so named were often imprisoned to silence their voices.
Under the subsequent Joseph Stalin regime, alleged “dissident” reporters were often killed.
Alexander notes that as anger increases against reporters covering the President, that many are now being provided, for their protection, with private security guards by their news organizations. Some also have gone through special training on how to handle themselves in violent situations. This is not normal.
Alexander and other veteran reporters who have covered numerous Presidents have never seen the danger level against reporters to be this high. However, daily Pres. Trump stokes the fires of his base by the endless repetition of the phrases: “Fake News” and “Enemies of the People.”
Two factors make these attacks different than in the past, according to Alexander. One is the use of social media for Trump to talk with and to enflame his constituents directly and the second is the delineation of cable news into ideological segments: FOX News on the right and MSNBC on the left. This segmentation often leads to echo chambers and intolerance for other perspectives.
In addition to domestic turmoil, Alexander says that the President’s continued hostility against the American news media gives license to dictators and despots around the globe to crack-down on their reporters. President Trump is setting the example of how to demonize reporters, Alexander noted.