RTDNA, Other Press Groups Accuse Trump of Undermining Democracy

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) along with the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the ACLU and more than 70 others accused President Donald Trump and his administration of trying to "undermine democracy" by marginalizing the media as an independent watchdog on government power.

That came in a joint statement following Trump's drumbeat of attacks on the mainstream media as disgraceful, purveyors of fake news, liars, and even the enemies of the people.

In the letter, the groups said "The effort to delegitimize the press undermines democracy, and officials who challenge the value of an independent press or question its legitimacy betray the country’s most cherished values and undercut one of its most significant strengths."

The groups signing on to the letter said a free press is a "safeguard against tyranny."

The statement was issued late last week, before the President turned his sights to former President Barack Obama, accusing him of McCarthy-like wiretapping of Trump Tower during the campaign, an incendiary charge denied by the President and being debunked by current and former government officials in multiple mainstream media news stories over the weekend.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.