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9 May, 2018 15:23

Trump threatens credentials of ‘fake news’ networks over negative coverage

Trump threatens credentials of ‘fake news’ networks over negative coverage

US President Donald Trump threatened news networks with having their credentials revoked on Wednesday morning, as he took to Twitter to complain about negative coverage of his administration.

“The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake),” the President tweeted.

“Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt?,” he continued. “Take away credentials?”

The 91 percent figure comes from a Media Research Center report aired on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning. The report found that 91 percent of ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of Trump in the first four months of this year was negative in tone. The Media Research Center is a conservative organization whose stated aim is to "expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media.”

Negative media coverage has dogged Trump since his inauguration. A Harvard study of the mainstream US media’s coverage of his first 100 days in office found that, while Trump was the subject of 41 percent of all news stories in that period, 80 percent of that coverage was negative.

Taking away credentials would effectively bar networks from White House press conferences and severely restrict coverage of the President.

The Washington Post hit back at Trump straight away, defending the paper’s negative tone. “Presenting an honest portrait of elected leaders,” read an article on Wednesday, “even — and especially — against their will is, of course, why the First Amendment to the Constitution cements the role of a free press.”

Even conservative news icon Matt Drudge, broadly supportive of the President, spoke out against Trump’s tweet.

“I fear the future result of Trump’s crusade on ‘fake news’ will be licensing of all reporters. [Dems already floated this in the senate pre-Trump.] The mop up on this issue is going to be excruciating…” he tweeted.

Trump has frequently lashed out at ‘fake news’ networks. During his 2016 campaign he blacklisted reporters from several outlets, including Politico, The Daily Beast and the Huffington Post, from his rallies.

He has heaped more scorn on some outlets than others. During the campaign he threatened to revoke the Washington Post’s credentials, and in a recent feud with the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, he declared the newspaper “fake” and a “lobbyist.” CNN has also been a regular target of Trump’s outrage, and the president refused to field questions from the network’s Jim Acosta on several occasions.

Trump’s latest tweet comes as the mainstream media continues to focus on his alleged ties to Russia and his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels over a decade ago. Meanwhile, unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in almost 20 years, and growth rates are up to five percent in some states.

Not all US news networks are on Trump’s naughty list however. The president has commended Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting, both right-leaning networks, for their coverage.