AP/BBC President Donald Trump is renewing his campaign against the media, claiming at a Pennsylvania rally that the media is the “fake, fake disgusting news” and casting journalists as his true political opponent.
Trump barnstormed Thursday night in a state that he swiped from the Democrats in 2016 and that is home to a Senate seat he is trying to place in the Republicans’ column this fall. But the race between GOP U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta and two-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey took a back seat to Trump’s invectives against the media, which came amid a backdrop of antagonism to journalists from the White House and hostility from the thousands packed into a loud, overheated Wilkes-Barre arena.
“Whatever happened to the free press? Whatever happened to honest reporting?” Trump asked, pointing to the media in the back of the hall. “They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”
Time and time again, Trump denounced the press for underselling his accomplishments and doubting his political rise.
UN experts have warned President Donald Trump’s media attacks raise the risk of violence against journalists,
In a statement, David Kaye and Edison Lanza of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called the attacks “strategic” and said they undermined press freedom and “verifiable facts”.
The comments follow hours after Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka distanced herself from her father’s attacks.
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the media before and during his presidency.
He has declared journalists to be “enemies of the people”, drawing condemnation from across the political spectrum.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday refused to say the media were not enemies, causing a CNN reporter to walk out of the briefing.
Mr Kaye and Mr Lanza said the president’s assaults “increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence” in their joint statement, and were “designed to undermine confidence in reporting”.