CNN’s Amanpour: Trump Is a ‘Grave and Existential Threat’ to the Press

CNN senior media reporter Brian Stelter kicked off Sunday’s Reliable Sources by complaining about a tweet President put out last week citing a Media Research Center study, which found 90 percent of evening network coverage of the President was negative. Of course, CNN took issue with the facts and put together a lineup of media figures to beat up on the President for criticizing them. Among the group was CNN Chief International correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who wasted no time in lashing out at President Trump and denouncing his favorable attitude towards Fox News.

I have been talking about this ever since the President was elected, even before he was inaugurated, I made a big speech at the Committee to Protect Journalism in November of 2016, warning American journalists that there was now a grave and existential threat to their work,” Amanpour declared after Stelter asked her about how the President’s comment on pulling press credentials was heard around the world.

Amanpour admitted that she didn’t really think President Trump would reject anybody’s press credentials, but that didn’t stop her from fantasizing about how the media would rise up if it were to happen:

Hopefully, because the United States has a constitutionally protected journalism, and a constitutionally protected press, by the First Amendment, that the press will keep its spine and refuse to bend over to these kinds of threats … If they do, I expect the press to fight back, in no uncertain term. Or, to gather forces outside and continue to be able to report in a very, very strong, unbiased, facts, not fiction kind of way for as long as it takes.

She then praised how the Trump administration had spurred a “huge rise in necessary activism,” and not just from average citizens but from the supposedly impartial and objective press. “You know, everybody was getting a little lazy, everyone was taking everything for granted, particularly in the United … The press have come out,” she boasted. “Everybody is coming out to defend their profession and their right to exist under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

 

 

Six minutes later, and Amanpour was back at it again. Stelter asked her about how the American withdrawal from the Iran deal and the freed American hostages were reported abroad, but she wanted to talk about Trump’s relationship with Fox News.

“Well, you know, in many different places, in different ways,” she said brushing aside the topic. “I really think what April said both about Fox and also about, you know, pulling credentials in the past and banning certain people from rallies is really important.” She recalled how Trump had banned some news outlets from his campaign rallies and lamented how the press didn’t “all rise up and stand with those members.

Of course, the more applicable analogy would be Obama trying to kick Fox News out of the press pool, which other networks did come together to stop. But Amanpour was out to smear Fox News as well, calling them the President’s “echo chamber.” Ironic, since most of CNN live in theirs.

Amanpour’s warning against Trump and Fox News involved the possibility of them getting the U.S. into another Iraq War situation. “If you remember, all the way back to the George W. Bush administration, they just really sort of mostly talked to Fox. Fox, I called ‘the foot soldiers’ of the George W. Bush administration. Leading and helping and beating the drums to a war in Iraq,” she bloviated. “So that's the danger of just keeping your interviews in one sort of line.”

While she did, in fact, once call Fox News Bush’s foot soldiers, her retelling on Sunday was a revision on history she had already revised. Back on June 18, 2007, she did say the foot soldiers comment but she also falsely claimed the whole media was toeing the Bush administration line: “I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News.

And no Reliable Sources segment would be complete without equating the President of the United States to a tyrannical despot, so according to Amanpour:

So when the president of the United States of America, you know, says these kinds of things, other leaders are empowered, whether they're quasi-democratic, authoritarian, dictatorial, they're all empowered to beat up against the press. And that's really dangerous around the world.

The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click “expand” to read:

 

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CNN
Reliable Sources
May 13, 2018
11:03:31 AM Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: Christiane, when the U.S. president threatens to take away media credentials, how is that heard all around the world? What does that mean?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You know, Brian, I have been talking about this ever since the President was elected, even before he was inaugurated, I made a big speech at the Committee to Protect Journalism in November of 2016, warning American journalists that there was now a grave and existential threat to their work. Hopefully, because the United States has a constitutionally protected journalism, and a constitutionally protected press, by the First Amendment, that the press will keep its spine and refuse to bend over to these kinds of threats, or whether they're jokes or whatever. I don't think this administration is going to take away journalists' credentials. If they do, I expect the press to fight back, in no uncertain term. Or, to gather forces outside and continue to be able to report in a very, very strong, unbiased, facts, not fiction kind of way for as long as it takes.

But I think one of the great things of the Trump administration is how it has caused a huge rise in necessary activism. You know, everybody was getting a little lazy, everyone was taking everything for granted, particularly in the United States. And I think women of have come out, you know, black people have come out. The press have come out. Everybody is coming out to defend their profession and their right to exist under the constitution and the laws of the United States.

(…)

11:09: 33 AM Eastern

STELTER: Christiane, if the President was giving interviews, we would be asking about Iran and North Korea. I wonder, from your perch in London how the past week has been covered by the global press. You know, we've heard a lot about the withdrawal from the Iran deal and the arrival of those three Americans from North Korea. How is it playing around the world?

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, in many different places, in different ways. I really think what April said both about Fox and also about, you know, pulling credentials in the past and banning certain people from rallies is really important. Because on the one hand, I think it should be one for all and all for one. If one of our members is targeted, we should all rise up and stand with those members. That's what gives us strength. That's what not happened during the campaign and should have happened when various news organizations were banned from rallies. Everybody should have gotten together and said, we're all in this together.”

Secondly, about just giving interviews to the -- you know, to the channels of choice. All I can say about that is, it becomes an echo chamber as April was saying, and this is not just an academic exercise. If you remember, all the way back to the George W. Bush administration, they just really sort of mostly talked to Fox. Fox I called “the foot soldiers” of the George W. Bush administration. Leading and helping and beating the drums to a war in Iraq, which was based on specious and false intelligence and a manipulation of intelligence and basic lies. As you know, and we're reaping the very, very bad windfall from that still. So that's the danger of just keeping your interviews in one sort of line.

But around the world, I mean, look, we have, for instance, in London, this weekend, the president of Turkey, a U.S. ally. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is coming here. This is one of the key abusers of the press in his own country. I mean, taking them to court, you know, putting them in prison. I mean, just the worst. If you look at all the journalist groups, and their sort of list of free and unfree press, just the worst. So when the president of the United States of America, you know, says these kinds of things, other leaders are empowered, whether they're quasi-democratic, authoritarian, dictatorial, they're all empowered to beat up against the press. And that's really dangerous around the world.

(…)


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