At Tuesday’s campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Trump launched perhaps his most sustained and pointed attack the press, even lambasting them at one point for allegedly being unpatriotic.
“I really think they don’t like our country,” Trump said.
Legendary NBC Nightly News host Tom Brokaw, however, struck back with a now-viral tweet of his own.
i've been a journalist 50 yrs. Never met one who didn't love USA.
Many risk their lives reporting on US values.
— Tom Brokaw (@tombrokaw) August 24, 2017
Aside from calling their patriotism into question, Trump’s ratcheted-up attacks on the press this week included calling them “sick people” and accused them of “trying to take away our history and our heritage,” a reference to their coverage of the Confederate statues around the country being taken down. It should be noted, too, that Trump’s “heritage” phrase is a common talking point among white nationalists who have unapologetically defended these statues, despite the abhorrent history they actually represent.
Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post called Trump’s words “the most sustained attack any president has ever made on the press.”
Courtney C. Radsch, the advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said, “To see this sort of attack coming yet again from the president is deeply disturbing. It creates an environment in which attacks on the press, both verbal and potentially physical, could become common.”
Cecilia Vega said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Trump’s words were “incitement, plain and simple.”
Cecilia Vega turned her phone camera on to show the reaction of the crowd when Trump attacked the press in Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/93QAhzuAq9
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) August 23, 2017
While Trump lambasts the press, even going to far as to put them in harm’s way by publicly casting them as the “enemy,” Brokaw rightfully explains that these journalists are reporting in the best interest of the country and often risking their safety to do so. The fact that Trump holds them in such poor regard is simply a testament to the fact that they are the only ones holding him accountable for his barrage of lies and potentially illegal behavior, for which he is already under investigation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
While Brokaw condemns Trump’s latest attack as a “cheap shot,” the truth is that “cheap shots” make up the entirety of the President’s arsenal. This is a full-grown man whose most effective weapon is attaching tenuous epithets to his “enemy’s” names on Twitter, or telling half-truths to crowds of his supporters at self-congratulatory rallies months after being elected President.
If ever the term “cheap shot” existed for someone, it’s Trump.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.