STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Why Trump's 'enemy of the people' messaging matters

By now, it's somewhat old hat. Donald Trump bashes the media as "fake news." He says that reporters are the ...

Posted: Aug 3, 2018 9:41 AM
Updated: Aug 3, 2018 9:41 AM

By now, it's somewhat old hat. Donald Trump bashes the media as "fake news." He says that reporters are the worst and most dishonest people he knows. And he calls the media "the enemy of the American people."

But just because Trump says it all the time doesn't mean we should take for granted what he's doing: He is systematically trying to dismantle the idea of a free and independent press. And unfortunately, it's working.

Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Celebrities

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Ivanka Trump

Journalism and news media

Media industry

US federal government

White House

Witness the last 48 hours.

At a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump supporters chanted "CNN Sucks" behind CNN's Jim Acosta. Which isn't great. But then Trump himself grabbed the video/audio and sent it out through his Instagram account.

Then, on Thursday morning, Ivanka Trump broke with her father's view of the media: "I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people," she told Axios' Mike Allen.

At the White House daily briefing on Thursday, press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether the President would disavow his past attack on the media as the enemy, given his daughter's comment. Nope! "The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the President and everyone in this administration," Sanders said. "And certainly, we have a role to play, but the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country, as well."

Trump himself, never one to walk away from a fight without throwing a punch, took to Twitter to turn his daughter's conciliatory words into an attack. "They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people," he tweeted. "She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!"

Which leaves us where, exactly? Any attempt to defend the media as just people doing their jobs the best they can is met with derision from Trump backers. That's just Trump being Trump! You media guys can give it out but you can't take it!

That misses the point. This isn't about the media or even Trump. It's about the idea that facts exist. That holding people in power to account -- regardless of their party affiliation -- is a necessary role in a healthy democracy. That attacking people as dishonest, as other, as the enemy has real and lasting consequences.

The Point: I'm not sure even Trump knows the damage he does by asserting that the media is the enemy of the people. I am sure he doesn't care -- which is almost worse.

Read Thursday's full edition of The Point newsletter, and sign up to get future editions delivered to your inbox.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 44388

Reported Deaths: 675
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9653167
Washington608278
Marion6068109
Umatilla346145
Clackamas330966
Lane250127
Malheur196738
Jackson18657
Deschutes120913
Yamhill102515
Linn86316
Polk67515
Jefferson60910
Morrow5547
Lincoln51913
Union4872
Benton4646
Klamath4313
Douglas3738
Wasco35216
Hood River2861
Columbia2751
Josephine2733
Coos2621
Clatsop2510
Baker1433
Crook1162
Tillamook750
Curry581
Wallowa512
Lake470
Harney370
Sherman220
Gilliam120
Grant120
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 928028

Reported Deaths: 17618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3063277056
Riverside680501319
San Bernardino643671074
Orange597181475
San Diego56369888
Kern34154422
Fresno31321443
Sacramento26018500
Santa Clara24867406
Alameda23775463
San Joaquin21994492
Contra Costa18981246
Stanislaus17872401
Tulare17800292
Ventura14486166
Imperial13038338
San Francisco12320147
Monterey1161695
San Mateo11341161
Santa Barbara9919126
Sonoma9646136
Merced9623155
Kings850283
Solano763476
Marin7121127
Madera509476
Placer435359
San Luis Obispo426532
Yolo326660
Butte314353
Santa Cruz286125
Shasta204631
Napa200916
Sutter189712
San Benito146115
El Dorado13804
Yuba134610
Mendocino115621
Tehama9259
Lassen7721
Lake70417
Glenn6823
Nevada6358
Humboldt57110
Colusa5556
Calaveras34721
Amador33816
Tuolumne2886
Inyo24115
Siskiyou2210
Mono1822
Del Norte1811
Mariposa812
Plumas790
Modoc480
Trinity280
Alpine80
Sierra60
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 33°
Grants Pass
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 46°
Klamath Falls
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 33°
Sunny and pleasant Halloween
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events