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Attacks on press credibility endanger US democracy and global press freedom

“The Trump administration has stepped up prosecutions of news sources, interfered in the business of media owners, harassed journalists crossing U.S. borders, and empowered foreign leaders to restrict their own media. But Trump’s most effective ploy has been to destroy the credibility of the press, dangerously undermining truth and consensus even as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to kill tens of thousands of Americans. A special report of the Committee to Protect Journalists.”

In this report, I will examine the impact of Trump’s attacks on the credibility of the American press; his administration’s restrictions on access to government information; the president’s veracity; his legal challenges to the work of the news media; the president’s attempted interference in the financial independence of some media owners; and the impact on the press in other countries. I also will explore what journalists and media law experts say about how the press should respond. I interviewed for this report nearly 40 journalists, press freedom advocates, journalism school deans, media lawyers and professors, and administration officials. I relied on extensive research by Stephanie Sugars of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a project of CPJ and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. I talked to Michael Dubke, Trump’s former White House director of communications. However, repeated requests for a response to Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary whose departure was announced April 7, and her deputy, Hogan Gidley, went unanswered…”

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