Cristina García Casado |
President Donald Trump began his term declaring himself “at war” against the press and during his first 100 days in the White House has maintained an unprecedented rhetoric with the media.
This Saturday, on the 100th day of his term, Trump boasted of that battle to his supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania while the White House’s traditional dinner of correspondents passed for the first time in decades without the president.
Trump’s constant attacks on the media have ignited all the alarms in a country that has traditionally been a “model” of press freedom in the world, but have also pushed subscriptions and citizen interest for quality information, according to The experts and reports consulted by Efe.
Never before has the United States been so at the center of the debate on press freedom as evidenced by Trump’s “war” media panels that are already mandatory in journalism conferences and the latest Freedom House report.
In the 38 years that this reference organization has been following up on global press freedom, “the United States had never been as present in the public debate on this issue as in 2016 and in the first months of 2017.”
“Trump’s far-reaching attacks on the media and their place in a democratic society, first as a candidate and now as president, feed predictions of future setbacks of press freedom in the world in the coming years,” the study warns.
The worst consequences of Trump’s “hostility” to the media are not for the American press, very strong and with strong legal protections, but for journalists from other parts of the world who until now had the US. To denounce the attacks of its rulers.
That coincided on Friday the experts and journalists who participated in the presentation of the report in the “Newseum” Washington, the popular museum of the press that now bears on its front a large poster that says: “The Newseum celebrates our freedoms of First Amendment “.
The First Amendment of the US Constitution Is the one that shields freedom of expression and freedom of the press, which many consider threatened by Trump’s attacks on the media and his mission to scrutinize rulers.
“There is a real question about what you are doing to the media and freedom of the press, I take this very seriously from my experience covering your campaign,” CNN correspondent Jim Acosta told a conference On how to cover presidential information in Trump’s time that was added this year to the traditional panel on the Freedom House report.
Acosta, one of the journalists most attacked by Trump, related how journalists received insults and even threats from the magnate’s followers during the election campaign.
At their last rally in Virginia, as Efe found, they received the press with a loud booing and repeating the insults that Trump threw – and continues to throw – from the podium.
In his investiture, in a Washington filled with his most fervent supporters, it was common to see how journalists hid their credentials back home to avoid being reproached.
That tension is maintained with Trump in the White House, as Carol Lee, the correspondent following the president for The Wall Street Journal, told Friday.
“At a rally in Orlando, already as president, a group of people stayed at the end, they shouted at us, and you feel threatened. It’s not something that happens every day, but it’s something that I had never experienced before Trump,” he said.
If in the campaign the war cry was “false news”, “the enemy of the people” is the new motto, after Trump qualified the media in that way in a Twitter message on February 18.
Since then, that phrase is used by both the president’s followers to attack the press and journalists to defend and claim.
For example, the University of Texas (UT) communication student organization, one of the best in journalism, has sold hundreds of T-shirts with the phrase “Enemy of the American people since 1791” – year in which the First Amendment was adopted – and the photo of a newspaper in the press.
This t-shirt, and other similar ones, could be seen at the International Journalism Symposium (ISOJ) of the UT Knight Center, where this year Trump shared prominence with the usual debates about technological innovation and countries with media repression.
But, as columnist Matt Lewis stressed in that forum, in the US “Threats to journalism are tuits, while in other countries they are prison or death.”