WGAE Condemns Trump's Mocking Praise of Attacks on Press

(Image credit: PBS)

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has condemned President Donald Trump's latest attack on journalists, which he has long called the enemies of the people and allied with his Democratic opponents to bring down his Administration.

WGAE's over 4,700 members include staffers in broadcast, radio and digital news.

At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday (Sept. 22), the President was commenting on the National Guard breaking up a protest. 

Related: Democratic Senators Stand with Journalists

"Minneapolis, the governor finally said, 'Go in,'" the President said, according to a transcript. "We have the National Guard. Remember that beautiful sight? The street was a mess. That idiot reporter from CNN got hit on the knee with a canister of tear gas, and he went down, “I’ve been hit. I’ve been in.” He’d been hit....They grabbed them. They grabbed them. They grabbed them. They were grabbing them left and right. Sometimes they grabbed, they grabbed one guy, “I’m a reporter. I’m a reporter.” “Get out of here.” They throw him aside like he was a little bag of popcorn."

Then he added: "when you watch the crap that we’ve all had to take so long, when you see that, it’s actually … You don’t want to do that, but when you see it, it’s actually a beautiful sight. It’s a beautiful sight." He appeared to be talking about the National Guard's policing of both protesters and press.

In response, WGAE president Beau Willimon and executive director Lowell Peterson issued a joint statement condemning the President's conduct. 

Related: CPJ Cites Attacks on Journalists

“Yesterday President Trump praised violence against journalists, saying it was “actually a beautiful sight” when police officers and others physically attack journalists doing their jobs, observing and reporting the news," they said. "It is common for Presidents and other politicians to complain about how they are covered by the press; it is not a journalist’s job to curry favor with the powerful. It is far beyond the pale for a President to condone violence against journalists. The Writers Guild of America, East, which represents thousands of members working in news media, condemns all attacks on journalists – verbal and physical – including those issued by the President of the United States.”

Related: CPJ Seeks Trump Meeting Over Press Attacks

Back in April the Committee to Protect Journalists said President Trump's attacks on press credibility have been "dangerously effective," even as the pandemic kills tens of thousands of Americans. 

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.