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: 19978

Reported Deaths: 338
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah460893
Washington292124
Marion275568
Umatilla214126
Clackamas146438
Malheur71512
Deschutes5558
Lane5403
Jackson4211
Lincoln4149
Yamhill40412
Union3922
Jefferson3323
Morrow3272
Polk30112
Linn26310
Klamath2001
Hood River1780
Wasco1723
Benton1626
Douglas1401
Josephine1082
Coos890
Columbia860
Clatsop830
Crook421
Baker360
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Curry140
Sherman140
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 530606

Reported Deaths: 9808
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1981654827
Riverside38487738
Orange38131665
San Bernardino34237487
San Diego30516568
Kern21433152
Fresno15945157
Alameda12136193
San Joaquin12034187
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare10078193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8324131
Ventura787777
San Francisco708162
Santa Barbara652664
San Mateo5758120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma320842
Madera211432
Placer199819
San Luis Obispo197016
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa10079
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta4049
Colusa3594
Glenn3462
Mendocino3419
Nevada3161
Tehama2491
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1461
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo661
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 74°
Brookings
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Crater Lake
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 74°
Grants Pass
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Klamath Falls
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 74°
Cool and breezy Thursday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events