At an international press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Trump declared he would not be taking questions from CNN because they are “fake news.” Trump then turned to Fox News reporter John Roberts and said, “Let’s go to a real network.” However, Roberts later stated that Trump’s comments were “unfair.”
Trump’s tantrum was first sparked when NBC reporter Kristen Welker asked if his recent criticism of U.S. allies helps Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump was quick to snap and responded, “That’s such dishonest reporting. Of course it happens to be NBC, which is possibly worse than CNN.”
CNN reporter Jim Acosta was in the audience and spoke up, asking, “Since you attacked CNN, can I ask you a question?” At first, Trump ignored his request and proceeded to ask Roberts for a question. However, the more Acosta pushed, the more Trump firmly said no before commenting, “CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN. Let’s go to a real network.” Acosta responded, “Well we’re a real network, too, sir.” Roberts proceeded to ask Trump about U.S. and Russia relations.
The press conference ended without Trump answering any questions from CNN. However, Acosta shouted a question as Trump walked off the stage: He asked if Trump would tell Putin to stay out of U.S. elections. Trump responded to Acosta despite his earlier statements and said, “yes.”
Following the press conference, Roberts issued a statement defending Kristen Welker, NBC and CNN while also criticizing Trump’s comments. You know if Fox News is defending these news outlets, then Trump really has gone too far with criticizing the free press.
I know Welker of NBC. She is honest as the day is long. For the President to call her dishonest is unfair. I also used to work at CNN. There are some find journalists who work there and risk their lives to report on stories around the world. To issue a blanket condemnation of the network as ‘fake news’ is also unfair.
Acosta has a history of asking Trump the difficult questions, often shouting them out at events. However, he recently defended the tactics he uses to get an answer from the president. Trump consistently makes discrediting comments concerning the press, often using the term “fake news.” These comments have quickly grown into a full-blown attack on the free press that many have called “dangerous,” while others fear for the fate of the first amendment.