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RTDNA Warns Journalists About Trump Vilification

The Radio Television Digital News Association is warning broadcasters to be careful out there following arguably President Donald Trump’s most extended attack on the news media to date.

In a speech to a campaign rally in Phoenix Aug. 22, the President repeatedly called the press fake and dishonest and blamed them for not reporting correctly his "perfect" words following the violence in Charlottesville. His attacks prompted long "boos" for the journalists present and anti-media chants from the audience.

“Throughout his campaign, and throughout his first seven months in office, the president has consistently tried to make responsible journalists the villains in his effort to fire up his political base. We know that this kind of rhetoric has emboldened some people who don’t like, or don’t understand, the news media to act out against reporters and photojournalists at the national and local levels,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA incoming executive director, in a statement.

Related: Poll: Majority Say President Isn't Stable

Shelley heads an RTDNA First Amendment task force. RTDNA says that during the Charlottesville protests, four journalists were attacked.

“As long as the person with the most powerful bully pulpit in the world continues to attack verbally the news media, journalists are at risk,” Shelley said. “We urge reporters and photojournalists to be vigilant, and to take whatever steps they feel necessary to protect their personal safety while fulfilling their Constitutionally-guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.”

John Eggerton
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.