President Donald Trump parroted chief White House strategist Steve Bannon on Monday by referring to the media as the “opposition party.”
Last week, Bannon told the New York Times, “The media here is the opposition party,” adding, “They don’t understand this country.”
Bannon also said the “media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” when speaking to the Times during a telephone interview.
Tensions between Trump’s team and the media have intensified, with the president recently referring to CNN as “fake news” and BuzzFeed as a “failing pile of garbage.” Trump also fixated on news stories related to inauguration attendance.
Bannon, who ran right-wing organization Breitbart News until joining Trump’s team, is often credited for shaping Trump rhetoric — especially when things the president says get called into question by the mainstream media.
Trump and his team already have an established track record when it comes to devising nicknames and buzzwords that stick among the president’s supporters, including, “Crooked Hillary,” “Lying Ted” and “Little Marco.” Now, it appears, they are hoping the term “opposition party” takes root as a descriptor for the press.
Since Bannon used the term “opposition party,” which is now being echoed by the president, many journalists and observers alike have criticized it, saying it is designed to both discredit the media and label press members as the enemy:
In case "opposition party" quote no longer being blind didn't make it clear, Bannon says he wanted media out of WH https://t.co/AQGwWCEVhs
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 30, 2017
— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) January 29, 2017
As journalists vow not to "shut up," did Trump and Bannon score points by calling the media the opposition party? https://t.co/tpVK50HehC
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) January 30, 2017
Trump's war on the free press has gone from calling them biased to fake to the opposition party – the next step is to call them The Enemy.
— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) January 30, 2017
Donald: The media is not the opposition party. By attacking the entities which inform voters, you undermine our democracy.
— America Resurgent (@ProgressOutlook) January 30, 2017
From among this morning's ravings of a madman, this is the most troubling. The media now being labeled as "the opposition party." Beware. https://t.co/lZSAiJWe3D
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 30, 2017
We all should be concerned with labeling the press "the opposition party."
The free press reports truth, and truth is his greatest enemy. https://t.co/5cmyQSZR2T
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) January 30, 2017
The fact that Trump is referring to the press as “the opposition party” should terrify everyone.
— Mx. D. E. Anderson (@diannaeanderson) January 30, 2017
Notice how bannon has told trump to refer to the media as "the opposition party" in his tweets now. They're trying to make that title stick.
— Alyssa “back on semihiatus” Cole (@AlyssaColeLit) January 30, 2017