Just when you thought President Donald Trump's attack on America's free press couldn't get any worse, it does. In a statement reminiscent of attitudes held by totalitarian governments, President Trump called five mainstream news outlets "the enemy of the American people" Friday. Trump's statement came in a tweet that was published, deleted, and then published again in the span of no more than 20 minutes. Journalists from various news outlets have responded to Trump's tweet with a mix of disbelief, cautious humor, and pleas for restraint.
"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! SICK!" Trump tweeted Friday. However, just as soon as the tweet was published to Trump's official @realDonaldTrump Twitter account, it was deleted. Sixteen minutes later the president posted a revised version of the tweet to his account, having added @ABC and @CBS to the list of "fake news" media outlets he considered to be "the enemy of the American people."
While Trump's latest statement represents a dangerous escalation of his anti-news media rhetoric, it's not altogether surprising considering his penchant for deeming articles critical of him as "fake news." In fact, Trump's tweet came a day after the president held a lengthy news conference in which he dismissed reports on some of his campaign staffers' alleged ties to Russia as "fake" and reprimanded members of the media, calling them "dishonest people."
But if Trump was hoping his classification of the national media as "the enemy of the American people" might intimidate (or simply stun) reporters and journalists into a more agreeable silence, he was likely sorely disappointed by their reaction Friday. Journalists from various different news outlets took to Twitter to dissect and condemn the president's words almost immediately, issuing harsh, and at times comedic, rebukes of his apparent disregard for a free press, something long considered the cornerstone of democracy.
Let's Dial It Back
Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet The Press, urged the president and his administration to rethink their extraordinary rebuke of America's free press.
Is Trump's Tweet A Call To Arms?
Reporter Tim Carmody encouraged discussion of where Trump's classification of the nation's news media as "enemies of the American people" might end?
I Am My Own Worst Enemy
BuzzFeed World News editor Hayes Brown pointed out the flaw in Trump's strategy - the American people's worst enemy are American people.
Matt Pearce, national reporter for the Los Angeles Times, sought the comfort and security of the First Amendment. Is there room for me under there, Matt?
The Stuff Of Stalinism
Politico's chief economic correspondent tweeted he felt Trump's latest attack on the media echoed the totalitarian method of rule employed by Joseph Stalin.
No Harm In Being Extra Cautious
JJ MacNab hoped news media outlets were taking extra precautions in a tweet that seemed to imply Trump's words could inspire attacks against media outlets.
Like Water Off A Duck's Back
CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan urged her colleagues to take no offense to Trump's tweet.
Journalism Is A Public Service
Journalism is widely considered to be a public service, meaning reporters, editors, and writers all work for the American people, not against them.
Leave it to Trump to inspire new career goals for hundreds of budding and veteran journalists.
Friend Or Foe?
Due to their near constant coverage of him as a presidential candidate, the media has taken a hefty amount of blame for Trump's political rise.
It's All High School Politics
This isn't the first time someone has drawn a connection between Trump and mean teenage girls.
A Dog Whistle
For some journalists, Trump's latest attack on the press felt less like his usual strategy to delegitimize the media and more like an attempt to send a coded message to a particular subgroup.