Trump, who frequently disparages the news media as “fake news” and “enemy of the people,” tweeted Wednesday that the press “has never been more dishonest” and bragged that coverage of him has “kept many of them in business.”
The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today. Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don’t even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
Reporter Rachael Pacella responded with a quote-tweet to the president, recalling the horror of the June shooting in her newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Seeing generalized media-bashing tweets from the president makes me fear for my life,” Pacella wrote. “His words have power, and give bad actors justification to act.”
As one of six survivors of our nation’s only newsroom mass shooting, seeing generalized media-bashing tweets from the president makes me fear for my life. His words have power, and give bad actors justification to act. https://t.co/9NZ2WByB7i
— Rachael Pacella (@rachaelpacella) February 20, 2019
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
Trump has repeatedly attacked the media for stories that portray him unfavorably. He’s threatened CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and HuffPost, among others. The president’s rhetoric has made the phrase “fake news” popular with his supporters on social media. Last week, a Trump fan attacked a BBC cameraman after Trump ranted against the media during a rally in Texas.
The president’s latest attack came a day after a lawsuit was filed by Nicholas Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teen at the center of the widely publicized confrontation in Washington with Native American activist Nathan Phillips.
Sandmann is suing The Washington Post for $250 million, alleging coverage of his interaction with Phillips “wrongfully targeted and bullied” Sandmann “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap.”
The student, on a field trip from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, was seen in a now-viral video showing teens surrounding Phillips performing an American Indian movement song on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in January. The video quickly became a polarizing cause, with some seeing the teens as instigators and Sandmann and others saying they were trying to prevent trouble.
Sandmann’s lawsuit claimed the Post’s reporting “ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.”