The UN Human Rights Chief has condemned Donald Trump for his continued attack on the media. The human rights spokesperson said that the US President’s continued attack on some media outlets as “fake news” could be considered incitement of hatred. He added that this could have dangerous implications for American society.
The comments came after months of attacks by Trump on media outlets in the United States. Trump derides those who question his decisions as a president on social media. The Presidents hold a particular grudge against CNN, who he believes have continually attacked his policies.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN Human Rights Chief, said: “It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only a cornerstone of the Constitution but very much something the United States defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the president himself.”
Freedom of Press
The United States has long valued its freedom of press, and freedom of speech. The First Amendment of the US Constitution protects the freedom of speech. It declares that the government shall make no effort to curb the freedom of the press. American society values this freedom. At times it has led to controversial court cases.
At a recent rally in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump declared that “You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, and they’re bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that. And I don’t believe they’re going to change, and that’s why I do this.”
American academic and historian, Timothy Snyder recently wrote in Time Magazine that the “president and his aides actively seek to destroy Americans’ sense of reality. Not only does the White House spread ‘alternative facts,’ but Kellyanne Conway openly proclaims this as right and good. Post-factuality is pre-fascism”. Snyder added “The function of the press, as the Founding Fathers understood, was to generate the common knowledge on which citizens could understand and debate policy, and to prevent rulers from behaving tyrannically. Whether from the far right or the far left, the regime changers of the twentieth century understood that the media had to be bullied and deprived of importance.”
Donald Trump has made his most recent outburst against the media in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The President faced criticism for failing to meet with any victims of the natural disaster. As a result, the president pointed the finger of blame in the direction of media outlets, claiming they had a preexisting agenda against him.
In Trump America, it appears the White House considers media outlets a top enemy. The current administration has had a series of difficulties internally since taking office in February. Trump does not appear to understand the nature of the media and its duty to hold to account the actions of those in power.
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