Trump Attacks Free Press During Press Conference

In attacking and blacklisting CNN, Donald Trump launched an assault on free press

In what was already a highly unorthodox press conference this morning President Elect Donald Trump launched an attack on constitutional free press by not only assailing the credibility of a news organization that published a critical piece about him, but repeatedly refusing to take a question from that organization for the duration of his press conference.

During his press conference Trump addressed allegations published by CNN and Buzzfeed last night calling the British intelligence memos ‘fake news’ and conflating the diligent reporting produced by CNN and the unverified memo dump by Buzzfeed as comparable. In doing so he called CNN’s reported fake news without substantiation, attacked the entire news organization, and literally yelled at CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

Immediately after Trump called out CNN for publishing a negative article about him, Acosta attempted to ask a question. “Sir, since you’re attacking us can you give us a question?” he asked.

“Go ahead,” Trumps aid, pointing to the reporter pool. “Go ahead, go ahead. No. Not you,” Trump said to Acosta. “Not you, your organization is terrible.”

“You are attacking our news organization,” Acosta responded.

“Your organization is terrible,” Trump repeated. “Quiet, Quiet,” Trump said as Acosta repeatedly attempted to address Trump’s attack on CNN.

“She’s asking a question, don’t be rude,” Trump replied.

“Mr. President Elect you are attacking us. Can you give us a question?” Acosta asked again.

“No, I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump said. “I’m no going to give you a question. You are fake news,” Trump scoffed.

“Mr. President Elect, that is not appropriate,” Acosta responded.

After the press conference Acosta confirmed on CNN that incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer threatened to eject him from the press conference if he continued attempting to ask Trump a question.

In addition to that, Jake Tapper read a prepared statement on the air responding to Trump’s blacklisting of their organization. He said:

CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case briefing materials prepared for president Obama and president-elect trump last week. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.

It shouldn’t be ignored that the man who literally just this morning compared the United States to Nazi Germany for mainstream media leaking an intelligence report is now using traditionally authoritarian press suppression techniques to blacklist organizations that don’t publish exclusively publish flattering information about him.

Here’s video of the moment Trump attacked free pres by blacklisting CNN from asking him questions:


Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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