From the looks of Trump’s Twitter, it’s been a busy weekend for the president. He’s gone after everyone from the editors of TIME to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His latest target was CNN International, which he attacked on Saturday evening. It took no time for CNN to fire back at Trump, and the internet is loving the network's response.
In a tweet, the president wrote that Fox News “is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN,” but noted that outside the United States, “CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!”
Although it’s unclear exactly what set Trump off, the president has long dismissed the network as “fake news,” and has a contentious relationship with Jeffrey Zucker, CNN's president. Trump drew criticism when he tweeted out a fake video of himself taking down CNN back in July with the hashtag “#FraudNewsCNN.”
In a tweet responding to Trump’s latest criticisms of CNN International, the network’s communications department wrote, “It's not CNN's job to represent the U.S to the world. That's yours. Our job is to report the news,” adding “#FactsFirst.”
The president may have already moved onto his next Twitter tirade, but the internet came to the defense of the network, giving reasons why CNN is not the fraudulent company Trump paints it as.
The takeaway? Twitter thinks Trump’s continuous threats toward CNN aren’t just a nuisance — they’re a blow to principles of free speech and press freedom.
Trump Has No Respect For The Profession
CNN analyst John Kirby came to the network's defense, noting that CNN International has long recruited "world-class journalists" who take big risks to tell difficult stories. While the president regularly dismisses their work as "fake," it's anything but.
Journalists Will Literally Dodge Bullets For A Story
This job can be risky. CNN's Christiane Amanpour would know — she tweeted a video of herself running away from the sound of bullets while reporting abroad. Again, there is "nothing fake about that."
The Stories CNN Brings To Light Are Important
As White House Correspondent Jim Acosta noted, CNN International recently published a bombshell story about the Libyan slave trade. Their reporting prompted the United Nations to open an investigation into the matter.
Trump Is Doing A Favor To Dictators
Former presidential candidate Evan McMullin noted that Trump is lending a hand to authoritarian figures by attacking a network like CNN International. If they can't do their job, then dictators will not be held accountable.
Putin's Also Made Moves To Thwart CNN
Russian president Vladimir Putin recently signed a law that will make foreign media outlets like CNN International register as "foreign agents."
This Is A Blow To Press Freedom
President George W. Bush's former speechwriter noted that while journalists in the United States are protected by the First Amendment, not all countries have strong free speech laws. By undermining CNN journalists abroad, the president is directly attacking their "freedom and even safety."
And Press Freedom Is A Hallmark Of Our Democracy
As former FBI Director James Comey reminds us, freedom of the press has always been an important part of American democracy. As Thomas Jefferson said, it "cannot be limited without being lost."
Larger Forces At Work?
This week, the Department of Justice challenged a merger between AT&T and Time Warner, which owns CNN. Some see the move as an effort to hand the network over to a conservative buyer, like Rupert Murdoch. Given the context, Trump's attack on CNN seems particularly timely.
It seems that Trump just won't let up this weekend, and CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins joked that this one came at a particularly inopportune time — many were tuned into the Auburn-Alabama football game.
CNN Is Still Respected By Many
Joe Scarborough ignored the president's message and instead thanked CNN for sending the message that America "still has a vibrant, free press."
For Now, The Network's Doing Just Fine
As of Saturday evening, CNN's response had more tweets than Trump's attack.
Sure, Fox News might still be the most watched news network in America — but the responses to the president's attack on CNN show that many deeply respect the international reporting delivered by the news channel.