Trump's constant claims that news that isn't favorable to him is "fake" is having an impact around the world, in a very horrific manner.
One of Trump's top tactics is to come up with demeaning nicknames to smear his rivals with. And when it comes to the U.S. free press, his favorite catchphrase is calling them "fake news."
It's dangerous for many reasons which we have spelled here on C&L's pages as well as across the media landscape, but one of the unintended or intended consequences of this thuggish behavior is that it's being picked up by many of the world’s autocrats and dictators.
These brutal rulers are using the "fake news" moniker to undermine legitimate journalism and quench any criticisms that come there way, by any means necessary.
Around the world, authoritarians, populists and other political leaders have seized on the phrase “fake news” — and the legitimacy conferred upon it by an American president — as a tool for attacking their critics and, in some cases, deliberately undermining the institutions of democracy. In countries where press freedom is restricted or under considerable threat — including Russia, China, Turkey, Libya, Poland, Hungary, Thailand, Somalia and others — political leaders have invoked “fake news” as justification for beating back media scrutiny.
While giving a lecture to Transparency International UK’s annual lecture in London, the former Conservative U.K. Prime Minister also took offense to Trump's usage of his "fake news" smear as a tactic to fend off his critics.
“When Donald Trump uses the term ‘fake news’ to describe CNN and the BBC, that is not just a questionable political tactic. It’s actually dangerous.”
Of course broadcasters make mistakes and it’s right they correct them,” Cameron said. “But what is being attempted here goes far beyond that. It’s an attempt to question the whole legitimacy of organizations that have an important role in our democracy.
“Let me put it like this. President Trump: ‘Fake news’ is not broadcasters criticizing you, it’s Russian bots and trolls targeting your democracy … pumping out untrue stories day after day, night after night.”
Senator John McCain also joined the chorus of critics and told Trump that he "must understand his harmful rhetoric only empowers repressive regimes to jail reporters & silence the truth to knock it off."
Trump's actions tell us that he could care less about the treatment of reporters and journalists around the world and in this country.
All he cares about is the kind of slobbering euphoric praise Corey Lewandowski offered him during his recent visit to ABC's The View.