This was a scary week for the American press. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump went on one of his characteristic Twitter tirades against the media, calling them dishonest and accusing them of writing stories “that have absolutely no basis in fact.” He went on to praise Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student, whose family is suing The Washington Post for “targeting and bullying” him to embarrass President Trump. Trump continued his Twitter attack on the media, this time targeting The New York Times, claiming their reporting is false and that “they are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” According to the Times, Trump’s outburst came after the news organization published an investigative report “describing how Trump had worked to influence and undermine federal investigations involving him, his presidential campaign and his administration.”
While the president has never gotten along with the media, his latest tirade comes a day after Justice Clarence Thomas called on the Supreme Court to reconsider a landmark 1964 ruling that makes it hard for public officials to prevail in libel suits. The president’s attack on the news media also comes as Coast Guard lieutenant and alleged white supremacist, Christopher Paul Hasson, was arrested on gun and drug charges allegedly wanting to conduct a mass killing. Hasson had a hit list that included prominent Democratic politicians like Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as several journalists from CNN and MSNBC.
Attacks on the news media are nothing new for the region. In its annual report, Reporters Without Borders ranked Mexico as the third deadliest country in the world for journalists, with a total of nine journalists killed last year. With three journalists already murdered in 2019, Mexico is on track to surpass its tragic performance in 2018. According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, Reynaldo López, host of a radio station in the northern state of Sonora, was killed by an armed group on February 16. Fellow sports reporter Carlos Cota, who was in the car when theattack occurred, was hurt. López’s murder comes after the killings of José Murúa Manríquez, thedirector of Radio Kashana in Baja California Sur, and of Jesús Eugenio Ramos, host of a news program in Tabasco state.