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Trump’s war against news media is rooted in some of his deepest fears

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Donald Trump reporters
President
Donald Trump calls on a reporter before boarding Marine One on
the South Lawn of the White House in Washington,
DC.

AP Photo/Andrew
Harnik


  • President Donald Trump has frequently asked White House
    aides to punish some reporters if he’s unhappy with the way
    they approach him, The Washington Post reported on
    Friday.
  • Reporters who shout questions at Trump, or who press
    him with questions about the news of the day tend to get the
    president most riled up, The Post said.
  • White House staffers, including press secretary Sarah
    Huckabee Sanders, have sought to calm Trump in his most heated
    moments following interactions with the news media.
  • During some of those moments, Trump has often asked
    that certain reporters be punished. His aides had resisted
    those requests, until this week when CNN reporter Kaitlan
    Collins was barred from an open press event, prompting fierce
    criticism.

President Donald Trump has sought to punish some reporters who
cover him if he’s unhappy with the way they approach him,

The Washington Post reported
on Friday.

Trump’s angst can be triggered by a reporter shouting a question
at him, or asking him to comment on the news of the day, The Post
said, pointing to occasions where Trump apparently felt
overwhelmed or disrespected during such interactions.

White House staffers, including the press secretary Sarah
Huckabee Sanders, have sought to calm Trump in his most heated
moments. But The Post notes that the communications staff have
resisted requests from the president to punish certain reporters
who have angered him most, pointing to the certain backlash that
would follow.

News reporters, including the credentialed press who are tasked
with covering the president and daily happenings in the White
House, are expected to query the commander-in-chief, and to be
assertive about it.

It is a long-standing practice and tradition of the free press,
which is charged with holding people in positions of power
accountable for their words and actions. This is protected by the
US Constitution’s First Amendment.

As a private citizen and candidate in the 2016 election, Trump
has successfully prevented reporters and entire news
organizations from obtaining media credentials to attend his
campaign events. He is not afforded the same latitude as
president.

However, the internal resistance toward Trump’s urge to punish
reporters apparently ended this week
when CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins was barred from an open press
event
at the White House — because of questions she asked the
president about his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, earlier the
same day.

The White House’s reaction was roundly criticized from the likes
of CNN, Fox News, and the White House Correspondents’
Association.

White House officials have countered that criticism by noting the
president’s willingness to engage with reporters in certain
settings, such as when he is walking to or from the White House,
and after events in the Oval Office.

However, Trump does not always respond to their questions, and
frequently uses the bullhorn of his personal Twitter account to
rail against the press, who he has on multiple occasions called
“the enemy of the people.”

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