Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com
Foreign journalists let Donald Trump know that his authoritarian claims of fake news aren’t going to be shrugged off, the way so many American journalists now do when the president unleashes reckless, dangerous attacks on the free press.
After delivering a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump agreed to a brief question-and-answer session, where he was asked what in his life had prepared him for the presidency.
The narcissist in chief immediately started taking about his press coverage and how much media attention he’s received his entire adult life.
“And throughout my whole life — someone will explain someday why — but I’ve always gotten a lot. And as a businessman I was always treated really well by the press. You know, the numbers speak and things happen, but I’ve always really had a very good press.”
The lifelong publicity hound then complained his favorable press coverage vanished when he decided to run for office.
That thin-skinned charge was immediately met with a wave of boos and jeers from foreign press.
By contrast, Trump’s attorneys refused to deny the story.
As for Trump’s whining about his campaign coverage, many studies have shown that he benefited from the media’s relentless and mindless obsession on Hillary Clinton’s emails during the campaign.
Not only did Trump receive far less negative coverage than Clinton in 2016, according to an exhaustive review by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, but Trump received more overall press attention. Additionally, Clinton’s so-called scandals got more press coverage than Trump’s.
As president, Trump’s vicious attacks on the free press have earned him the “top oppressor” label from the Committee to Protect Journalists, beating out some of the world’s worst dictators, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Trump’s “fake news” attacks and insistence that he’s a victim might work with his conservative media enablers at home — but as he found at Davos, the rest of the world knows better.
Eric Boehlert is a veteran progressive writer for Media Matters and Salon and author of two books: Lapdogs: How The Press Rolled Over for Bush, and Bloggers On The Bus. Follow him on Twitter @ericboehlert.