The Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday issued a sizzling denunciation of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump saying that he is a threat to press freedom “unknown in modern history.”
The independent non-profit, which defends the rights of journalists, accredited that its condemnation was “an unprecedented step” and that it was sparked by the billionaire mogul’s threats against journalists and abuse of the media.
Sandra Mims Rowe, the chairman of CPJ’s board, said in a statement that Trump consistently betrays First Amendment values. She also noted that her organization passed a resolution on Oct. 6 declaring him an “unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists” and their ability to advocate for press freedom throughout the world.
“Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ and singled out individual news organizations and journalists,” she said.
Trump routinely declares at his rallies that reporters are some of “the worst human beings in the world.” But he took his media criticism a step further on Thursday by asserting that women’s accusations of sexual misconduct were part of a media conspiracy to elect Democrat Hillary Clinton.
For her part, Rowe, a former editor of the Oregonian newspaper, cited various times he publicly demeaned journalists: mocking a New York Times reporter with a disability, calling an ABC News reporter “sleaze” and kicking a Univision anchor out of a press conference for asking an “impertinent” question. She said Trump has refused to condemn attacks against journalists by some of his supporters and has denied press credentials to new outlets that have been critical of his campaign.
She also criticized Trump’s vague proposals to restrict basic freedoms of the press and Internet. For instance, at a February rally he declared that he would “open up our libel laws” so that he could sue anyone who writes “purposely negative and horrible and false articles.”