Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney penned a blog post Thursday criticizing President Trump for routinely labeling the so-called “fake news” media the “enemy of the people.”
Mr. Romney, in a post titled, “The Free Press, a Pillar of Democracy,” emphasized the “vital role played by professional news organizations” in an era when people are being constantly influenced by “propaganda from a campaign, from a political party, or even from a foreign adversary.”
“America is indebted as a democratic nation to the free press for truths it has uncovered, for truth it has disseminated, and for falsehoods it has repudiated,” the former presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor wrote.
He highlighted two tweets by the president that attacked left-leaning news networks, particularly CNN, for spreading “false information”:
CNN and others in the Fake News Business keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the “Media is the Enemy of the People.” Wrong! I said that the “Fake News (Media) is the Enemy of the People,” a very big difference. When you give out false information – not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2018
There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
“He was referring to ‘CNN and others in the Fake News business,’ not foreign provocateurs,” Mr. Romney pointed out.
He lamented that “no American president has ever before vilified the American press or one of its professional outlets as an ‘Enemy of the People.'”
“Attacking the media or publications that lean in a different direction than the Republican Party is decidedly good politics,” he argued. “We conservatives have long suffered from the left-leaning attitudes and reporting of the media. But today, if we don’t like one outlet, there are others from which we can — and do — choose. And, more importantly, denigrating the media diminishes an institution that is critical to democracy, both here and abroad. As a political tactic, it may be brilliant, but it comes with a large cost to the cause of freedom.”
Mr. Romney acknowledged that the media is biased but should still be protected and respected.
“We can and should call for accuracy and responsibility in reporting from every member of the press. But a free press, even if biased, was guaranteed in our Constitution because it is critical to the preservation of the Republic,” he wrote. “I sometimes become irritated by stories I know are wrong, especially when they are about me. But I cannot conceive of thinking or saying that the media or any responsible news organization is an enemy. The media is essential to our Republic, to our freedom, to the cause of freedom abroad, and to our national security. It is very much our friend.”
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