Journalists at this week’s Republican National Convention warn that the Trump campaign’s treatment of the press raises serious questions about how his administration would treat the media, with one calling the Republican nominee a “dictator-in-waiting.”
The Republican nominee and his campaign have waged a long-running war on the press, including banning critical outlets from events, promising to “open up our libel laws” if Trump is elected, and regularly personally insulting reporters.
In interviews with Media Matters at the RNC, several journalists criticized Trump's approach to the media.
“He’s a dictator-in-waiting, it doesn’t surprise me the way he is,” Foreign Policy Initiative fellow and former New Republic reporter James Kirchick said.
Kriston Capps, a writer for The Atlantic, said Trump “despises [the press], but he can’t break an addiction to the press.” He added, “I think it would be a huge change in tone for the United States; to have a president calling people liars for doing their jobs would be unprecedented.”
Trump’s press treatment has been the subject of widespread criticism, including from journalism rights groups that have warned a Trump presidency could curtail press freedom and former White House press secretaries who think Trump might poison White House press relations.
“My assumption is that a Trump presidency will see the same kind of behavior that we have seen in the past 10 months and 10 years,” said Jeff Greenfield, an Emmy Award-winning journalist. “It becomes very difficult [to continue that behavior] when you are the chief executive of the United States, that’s when you get some very serious questions.”
Jim Payne, a news anchor for WESH, NBC’s Orlando, FL, affiliate, argued that Trump “demonizes the media and blames us for not getting the message out the way he wants it.” He added, “But he needs the media. Most of what he is proposing goes against the constitution anyway.”
Philadelphia Sunday Sun journalist Denise Clay said: “In order to be an effective president, it would help if you knew how the Constitution works. When Mr. Trump made the remark that he would make it easier to sue [reporters] and make it harder for reporters to do their job, he doesn’t know the First Amendment.”