Earlier this morning, President Donald Trump launched another attack at The New York Times, branding the publication “a true enemy of the people.”
The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
The president’s tweet soon merited a response from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who assailed members of the Republican Party for “screeching on calling everything ‘socialism'” as they “happily cheer on an authoritarian President and defend the destruction of American democracy.”
While the right keeps screeching on calling everything “socialism” (as nations w/ univ healthcare + better work standards enjoy better health & work life than Americans),
they happily cheer on an authoritarian President & defend the destruction of American Democracy. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Qy0l01OOj5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 20, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s point is a salient one.
Right-wing media outlets, particularly Fox News, have dedicated significant airtime to criticizing Ocasio-Cortez’s “socialist” agenda. Their coverage of her is so extensive, in fact, that it prompted CNN to declare that “Fox News has found a new ‘villain’ in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” in an op-ed dated November 25, 2018. (In recent weeks, for example, Fox News personalities Jeanine Pirro and Laura Ingraham have attacked Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal and “socialist” wealth tax proposals.)
By contrast, the Republican Party has been heavily criticized for doing little to curb the president’s most irrational impulses and has, for the most part, remained uncomfortably silent as the president attacks the pillars of the Fourth Estate.
The president has a penchant for decrying the media as “fake news,” a mantra which many believe galvanized a gunman who killed several people at the headquarters of Maryland’s Capital Gazette while already embroiled in a lawsuit against the paper. More recently, many have suggested that the president’s rhetoric inspired a man to send a string of mail bombs to prominent Democrats and to the headquarters of CNN.
Nor was Ocasio-Cortez the only one to criticize the president for his rhetoric. Prominent media figures weighed in, saying there is plenty of evidence to suggest that his attacks on the media provoke attacks against journalists.
Lately I've started getting direct messages calling me an "enemy of the people." Trump is putting this nonsense into the jetstream, and his less sophisticated followers are beginning to hate in the way he hates and use rhetoric in the way he uses rhetoric, if they didn't already. https://t.co/bRww9ddGVQ
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 20, 2019
As Trump, for what may be the first time, labels an individual news organization "the enemy of the people," remember that explosive devices were mailed last year to another news organization that Trump regularly attacks online and in speeches.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 20, 2019
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 20, 2019
A desire to sell nuclear secrets to a regime that murdered and chopped up a reporter makes you a true Enemy of The People. Lying to the American people when you are elected to represent them makes you an enemy of the people. @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/JQeXqatLRT
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) February 20, 2019
As I’ve reported, there is widespread evidence that Trump’s attacks on the media are provoking violent threats against journalists. During his presidency, reporters have faced assaults, mass shootings, and pipe bombs in the mail. But he just won’t stop 👉🏻 https://t.co/NsgNLNzqjj https://t.co/ymOWEK3RXp
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) February 20, 2019
The president’s latest remarks against the New York Times come after the paper reported that the president asked his then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker whether he could put ally Geoffrey Berman in charge of the Southern District of New York’s case against former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.