President Donald Trump spent roughly 13 minutes talking about the media during a 48-minute CPAC speech on Friday, but it surely felt like longer for journalism watchdogs monitoring the president’s near-constant attacks on the press.
Trump called the media “dishonest” less than three minutes into his speech, when he mentioned that the press would report that he didn’t get a standing ovation unless the crowd eventually sat down.
“They are the worst,” he said, referring to the press, as chants of “USA, USA, USA” broke out.
Trump used the word “media” 11 times, while he said “fake news” and “dishonest” seven times each, according to a transcript of the speech provided by Vox. He went after CNN, calling it the “Clinton News Network,” and also specifically mentioned CBS, ABC and NBC during the speech.
On Thursday, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon mocked the media for how it “portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and now they’re portraying the administration,” saying, “it’s always wrong,” when speaking at the conference.
At CPAC, Trump continued his habit of echoing Bannon’s rhetoric when it comes to dealing with the media, which Bannon calls the “opposition party” on a regular basis.
“A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people, and they are. They are the enemy of the people because they have no sources, they just make them up when there are none,” Trump said before bashing a recent story that he said cited nine sources.
Trump then explained that the media dropped the word “fake” when he recently called fake news the enemy of the people, in an attempt, he said, to falsely portray the president as referring to all media as the enemy of the people.
“All of the sudden, the story became the media is the enemy, they take the word ‘fake’ out,” Trump said. “But that’s the way they are… I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them.” The president failed to note that he included such major organizations as the New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS and CNN as part of the “FAKE NEWS media.”
Several prominent journalists have responded to Trump’s speech on Twitter:
"They always bring up the First Amendment," President Trump says of the media.
Yes, we do. And we always will.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) February 24, 2017
Wow. Trump is *still* maintaining an imaginary attack in Sweden actually occurred and that media refuses to cover it. pic.twitter.com/g740bPfLl5
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 24, 2017
Trump's attacks on the media don't just reflect his annoyance. He's trying to weaken the greatest institutional check on his illegal acts.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 24, 2017
After calling media "enemy of the people" Trump says a few moments later: "I'm not against the media. I'm not against the press."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 24, 2017
“I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press,” Trump said, as he criticized the press
— Michael Tackett (@tackettdc) February 24, 2017
President Trump on the media: "They have no sources, they just make 'em up when there are none." Can't have people making up sources. pic.twitter.com/SgQfpPTHPM
— Mark Berman (@markberman) February 24, 2017
Trump is doing a classic Trump turn – claiming the media misquoted him on his "Fake News" blast when they didn't.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 24, 2017
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 24, 2017
Decrying "media bias" is one thing. Dismissing real reporting as "fake news" is wholly different. It's hazardous. https://t.co/Iggy1QXofR
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 24, 2017