WASHINGTON — At a post-election press conference on Wednesday, President Trump repeatedly insulted and shouted down reporters trying to ask him questions, accusing them of creating “fake news” and calling them “the enemy of the people.” Trump characterized questions about White nationalism from PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor as “racist.” He urged staff to yank microphones away from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, whom he called a “rude, terrible person,” and ordered American Urban Radio Network correspondent April Ryan to “sit down.”
After the press conference, the White House revoked Acosta’s press pass, falsely accused him of manhandling an intern, and shared a doctored video of the incident on social media that was produced by the far-right conspiracy site InfoWars.
Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement.
“All Americans need to stand in solidarity with journalists against Trump’s efforts to abuse, harass and silence the press. The president’s words have serious consequences. His lies about so-called fake news and public enemies have resulted in journalists receiving death threats, getting assaulted and being sent pipe bombs. The issue is not whether one journalist can get credentials but who will take a stand against authoritarianism and for press freedom.
“Reporters are reluctant activists, but we are at a moment that demands action. Journalists can’t stay silent in the face of an administration that lies brazenly and spreads doctored videos. They can no longer stand by when Trump calls one of their colleagues racist for asking questions about White nationalism. They should not allow other reporters to be singled out or silenced.
“We call on the White House press corps to take a unified stand against the Trump administration’s attacks and abuse. If that takes a walkout, a boycott or turning off the cameras when the president is at the podium, they should do it. Free Press will have their backs and stands ready to help.
“The Trump administration has launched a direct and dangerous attack on the public’s rights to hold their leaders accountable. Trump wants to delegitimize the press and distract from his party’s election losses, his administration’s attempts to obstruct independent investigations, and his other crimes and misdeeds. The scene inside the White House press room is what you expect to see in a dictatorship, not a democracy. All of us — journalists and non-journalists alike — must stand up against Trump’s assault on the press.”