|Tell White House reporters: Don’t let Trump bully the media. Resist the Trump administration’s attempts to censor press briefings.|
|Petition to the White House press corps:
“Turn on the cameras and microphones. Resist attempts by the Trump administration to hide press briefings from the public.”
Add your name:
The Trump regime’s war on a free press is intensifying. After days spent attacking CNN and MSNBC, Trump tweeted a video of professional wrestling edited to appear as if Trump were beating up a person with CNN’s logo on their head.1
It would seem merely unhinged and juvenile if the Trump administration were not following tweets up with dangerous policy. Trump has refused to hold press conferences and broken precedent to refuse press questions. The goal appears to be insulating the regime from all questions – except those from the propagandists at FOX News.2
In an ominous move, the White House has even banned reporters from recording or broadcasting some press conferences. In response, some journalists are suggesting that reporters should join together to keep rolling their phone cameras and record press briefings anyway.3 We need to echo this call and make it clear that Americans of all stripes are relying on journalists to defy the White House and bring press briefings to the public.
Without recordings, the White House can lie with impunity and then lie about their lies. Turning on the cameras and audio recording devices does not mean giving the White House free publicity or broadcasting the daily briefings live. It is about resisting the Trump administration’s across-the-board efforts to limit press access, intimidate or threaten a free press, and deny the American people information about what our government is doing. Instead, reporters should turn on the cameras and audio recorders and see what lengths the White House is willing to go to in order to hide its agenda.
During the campaign, Trump deliberately targeted journalists for abuse and fostered an environment of intimidation. He mocked one disabled reporter. He has repeatedly denounced CNN simply for not following FOX News and acting like a state-run news agency.4 His whining and attacks have continued to this day. Trump recently interrupted remarks at a veterans’ event to complain about the press.5 His Twitter feud with MSNBC hosts and his tweets declaring CNN “fake news” are just the latest step. But make no mistake: the problem is bigger than just Trump.
A few weeks ago, a Republican congressional candidate physically assaulted a reporter for asking questions about health care.6 Mitch McConnell has been trying to make laws entirely in secret with no press access that would kill thousands and leave 22 million without health care. White House staffers including Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders have, from day one, stymied, mislead, attacked, blamed, demeaned and outright lied to journalists attempting to shed light on their agenda.7 Now, they want to rob reporters of a valuable tool to hold them accountable.
Corporate executives at major media outlets like NBC have promoted and handed a platform to Trump.8 MSNBC has pushed out Black, Brown and progressive voices and embarked on a white conservative hiring spree.9 Cable news gave endless airtime to Trump throughout his campaign and are reaping the consequences. The problem is that, with some exceptions, journalists who do the actual reporting simply want to get the truth out there and are facing incredible barriers and even death threats as a result. CREDO will continue to hold corporate media companies accountable while defending the rights of journalists to do their jobs.
Republicans laid the groundwork with decades spent attacking non-partisan media as biased. But Trump has pushed outright hostility in an attempt to gain and increase his own power. Press freedom under Trump is no partisan issue but a simple matter of whether the Constitution and American democracy will thrive under an administration determined to trample it.
Tell White House reporters: Don’t let Trump bully the media. Resist the Trump administration’s attempts to censor press briefings. Click below to sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out,
Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
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