Donald Trump Thinks the Freedom of the Press Is ‘Disgusting’

This post is periodically updated with new attacks on the media by the president.

Donald Trump has pledged to defend the Constitution — even an article that doesn’t exist — but he can’t seem to lay off that pesky First Amendment.

Trump has mocked the First Amendment’s right to freedom of religion by calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the country and criticized those who believe in the freedom of speech as “foolish people.” He has also endorsed attacks on protesters and the imprisonment of people who burn the flag.

And he has made it very clear that he doesn’t stand for the freedom of the press. As a presidential candidate, Trump told supporters he would “open up our libel laws” to sue journalists. “We’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before,” he promised.

Trump the candidate also blacklisted reporters and entire news outlets from campaign events, referred to journalists as “scum” and “slime,” and mocked a reporter for having a disability. He vowed to sue women who reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault, along with the outlets that covered their accounts, and threatened a lawsuit against a Hispanic journalist group for calling out his bigoted remarks.

"I would never kill them but I do hate them,” he said of reporters. “And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.”

This onslaught didn’t stop once Trump assumed the presidency. From the most powerful perch on the planet, he has continued to wage attacks on the free press, further revealing his authoritarian impulses and disdain for the First Amendment.

Below we provide a running list of attacks that the president has made on the press since assuming office. We’ll keep this list updated since, unfortunately, we don’t expect them to stop.

Trump has:

  1. Presided over a Justice Department investigation in which years' worth of email and phone records belonging to a New York Times reporter were seized in connection with a leak investigation.
     
  2. Threatened to change libel laws to make it easier to sue publishers and news organizations following the release of an unflattering book.
     
  3. Threatened legal action against a journalist and publisher over a book that includes critical statements about him.
     
  4. Demanded the Washington Post fire a reporter over an inaccurate tweet about the crowd size at a Trump rally, which the reporter apologized for and deleted.
     
  5. Urged people to sue ABC News over a retracted report, which Trump claimed caused the stock market to fall and investors to lose money.
     
  6. On the day that Russia enacted restrictions on foreign news outlets, tweeted: “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!” He then called for a contest between CNN and other outlets, apart from Fox, to see which has “the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me).”
     
  7. Said it is “frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write” in a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
     
  8. Threatened to cancel the broadcast licenses of media companies that offer negative coverage of him.
    Trump Tweet
     
  9. Had the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, call on ESPN to fire Jemele Hill for criticizing him.
     
  10. Tweeted mocking images of him wrestling a CNN reporter and his campaign hitting a CNN reporter with a train.
     
  11. Overseen a Justice Department review of policies for subpoenaing media organizations in an effort to crack down on both whistleblowers and journalists. As of November 2017, investigations of leaks by the department reportedly grew 800 percent under Jeff Sessions.
     
  12. Pledged to “fight the #FakeNews” with a Polish leader hostile to press freedom.
     
  13. Attacked reporters while speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has fostered a climate of violence against journalists.
     
  14. Said that his mission to “drain the swamp” begins “with the Fake News!
    Trump Tweet
     
  15. Reportedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to jail reporters who publish classified information.
     
  16. Tasked his former chief of staff with looking into changing the country’s libel laws.
     
  17. Explored the prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing CIA and State Department materials.
     
  18. Labeled the “fake news” media “the enemy of the people.”
     
  19. Accused the media of lying about his “very nice” conversation with the Australian prime minister. Ultimately, a leaked transcript of the call showed it was Trump who was lying.
     
  20. Urged someone to buy the New York Times to “either run it correctly or let it fold.”
    Trump Tweet

While Trump tries to portray journalists at the “enemies” of Americans, it’s his attacks on the press that amount to an assault on the cornerstone of American democracy: the First Amendment.

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Anonymous

Give President Trump, a break. All you do is bash and make up crap, just like Hillary did during the election campaign. She was recorded on video, saying to her staff, "Say anything, and see if it sticks!" There was nothing about this mentioned, in the
mainstream media. Your organization, sued the city of Redlands, California, to remove a small cross from the city banner, because of one Atheist. He claimed to be offended by it. This same individual, claimed to be offended by the United States flag!
The owners of this school, told him if he doesn't like it, then he could leave. He was a complete jerk! Basically, you are what's wrong with America! Scum of the Earth! Ridiculous lawsuits! And, screw you, Gloria Allred!

Haywood Jablome

"The only people who have freedom of the press are people that own newspapers": William Randolph Heart

Anonymous

Wrong.

Anonymous

Mr blowme is just a troll ignore

Anonymous

some snowflakes havin' a meltdown up in here!

Anonymous

Trump wants to take an IQ test, what a joke. I doubt he can even spell IQ. If this manboy had another brain, it would be very lonely.

Anonymous

President Trump's handling of the press is at best tasteless, and more recently a bit fascist. Having such negative opinions expressed the way he has about the media while sitting as POTUS is tasteless, however, actively trying to utilize authorities to subvert their capabilities to report the news crosses the line.

That being said, I think there should be more efforts to ensure a separation between the corporate interests funding news companies, and to ensure that reporters can't be influenced to alter the details of a story. Something like having an independent professional association holding reporters, journalists, and editors accountable for the stories they report. Akin to how attorneys have the bar, they have to answer to it, but it's run independent of government interference.

Brian

While You say, “I think there should be more efforts to ensure a separation between the corporate interests funding news companies, and to ensure that reporters can't be influenced to alter the details of a story,” that issue is easily addressed by the existence of fact-checkers and organizations holding each other to account. So, while there may be no pre-emptive prevention of distortion/error, as the saying goes, truth will out.

Anonymous

people Love freedom

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Anonymous

LOL people are talking dictatorship when Obama and Clinton repealed FCC protections which kept media honest and Obummer enforced it and continued the surveillance state. If Trump reinstates the FCC regulations media will have to comply and the 5-6 co's that own ALL MEDIA will crumble.

Just goes to show snowflakes are so dumb they didn't even know they got duped by the biggest condemners of freedom of the press Obama and Bill Clinton. All they see is red and blue and what the press tells them instead of researching the actual laws which created the media monopoly. http://www.morriscreative.com/6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america/

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