Fake. Disgusting. Failing. The enemy.
Those are just a few words President Donald Trump has called media organizations, particularly the ones he doesn't like. Trump has been spouting his anti-press comments since his presidential campaign, but now that he holds one of the most powerful offices in the world, his careless words are creating a dangerous echo chamber among his supporters.
In fact, it's become so hostile that a group of Democratic senators has introduced a resolution urging Trump to respect the rights of the press.
"Punishing reporters for simply doing their job is a strongman tactic that cannot be tolerated in a free democracy. President Trump may not like tough questions, but that's simply too bad," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.
In July, while covering a Trump rally in Tampa, Fla., CNN's Jim Acosta shared a 45-second video clip from the rally on Twitter (it currently has more than 4 million views). In the clip, Trump supporters are heard shouting "Stop lying!" and "You suck!" while waving their middle fingers and giving Acosta a thumbs down. One man even lifts up the front of his T-shirt that says "F*ck the Media."
"Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa," Acosta wrote. "I'm very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy."
Yet for thousands of people, the press is the enemy. A recent Ipsos poll showed almost a third of the American people agreed that the news media is the enemy.
This "growing animosity towards journalists" will continue, according to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
"More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy's essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion," said the report. "The United States, the country of the First Amendment, has fallen again in the Index under Donald Trump, this time two places to 45th. A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has...