Oct 12, 2017, 7:19 AM ET

The Note: Trump's contempt for the press may be more sinister than bluster


THE TAKE with ABC News' MaryAlice Parks

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Every American president has sparred with the press and fought back against stories unflattering or unfair. But no sitting president has in decades suggested media organizations should be shut down or that the federal government should consider curtailing their content or reach. Time and again, President Trump has rejected all criticism as fake, but his tweets over the last two days, threatening the future of media outlets, took his battle stance against the press to a new level. Plenty will argue his tweets are just bluster, but words from the White House matter. The rest of the world, for example, will not write off remarks this president makes about Iran as a rant or fleeting complaint. Whatever he says on the international deal will dramatically change the country's relationships abroad and instantly shake the trust governments have placed in the U.S. to keep its word. There are consequences to posturing and ramifications to threats. Whether it's warring with reporters at home or dismissing pleas from allies abroad, this president is perpetuating a landscape where facts don't matter and telling people to trust no one but him.

Presidents and the press
SLIDESHOW: Presidents and the press


President Obama will make his post-presidency political debut next week at a campaign rally in Virginia for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. Obama has largely stuck to apolitical events since his departure from the White House, but this race between Northam and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie is one of a handful of competitive statewide elections in the nation this year and will be perhaps the best barometer of the political landscape ahead of 2018. And Obama is not the only high-profile campaigner heading to the state. Former Vice President Joe Biden will campaign this Saturday in the vitally important D.C. suburbs, while Vice President Mike Pence will appear at rally for Gillespie in the southern part of the state. President Trump's only comment about the Virginia election so far was a tweet last week supportive of Gillespie's stance on illegal immigration. There has been no announcement yet on whether or not Trump will hold a rally for Gillespie in the coming weeks, but his presence looms large in a race that continues to be pushed into the national spotlight in its final weeks, ABC News' John Verhovek writes.


  • President Trump will sign an executive order today on health care that his team hopes will increase insurance options but critics say could destabilize Obamacare markets even more.
  • Trump will formally announce Kirstjen Nielsen at 2:30 p.m. today as his nominee for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Going after the First Amendment? Upset over a NBC News report, Trump tweeted Wednesday that network news licenses "must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked."
  • The House will vote today on legislation to provide $36.5 billion in emergency funding for hurricane and wildfire relief and recovery.

    "Are you tonight recanting the oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?" --Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in response to Trump's tweets on the media


    Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy deflects questions about 2020 presidential run. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., deflected questions about running for president in 2020, saying he is focused on winning his re-election in 2018. "I have an election in 2018 and so, all of my focus is on asking the people of Connecticut to send me back to the United States Senate," Murphy told ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" Wednesday. http://abcn.ws/2xzQXKW

    Sen. Murphy says call for bump stock review a "significant crack" in NRA's "political facade." Sen. Murphy believes the NRA's call for a review of bump stock devices in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting represents "the first significant crack" in the organization's "political facade" and predicted that the anti-gun movement will someday cultivate strength comparable to that of the pro-gun lobby. "We will eventually beat Republicans who vote against the 80, 90 percent of their constituents that want common sense change like universal background checks," Murphy said on this week's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. http://abcn.ws/2zjOMgK Listen to the 'Powerhouse Politics' podcast here.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Paola Chavez

    Trump to make announcement on fate of Iran nuclear deal. President Trump is expected to announce his decision on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal in a speech on Friday, according to Republican lawmakers briefed by the administration. White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster was on Capitol Hill Wednesday evening briefing top Republican lawmakers on the administration's forthcoming announcement. http://abcn.ws/2yaw515

    Watchdog groups flag Trump administration's ethics troubles. Two separate assessments from government watchdog institutions made public this week show growing concerns about the Trump administration's ethical behavior. http://abcn.ws/2ygZxCi

    Trump denies calling for increase in nuclear weapons. President Donald Trump shot down NBC News reports Wednesday that he called for a reported tenfold increase to the nation's nuclear arsenal during a national security meeting this summer and slammed the media for spreading "fake news." During a meeting in the Oval Office with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said it was "absolutely disgusting" that the press is able to "write whatever they want to write" and insisted that the story was wrong. http://abcn.ws/2ycwoGg

    Trump administration accused of dragging its feet on new Russia sanctions. More than two months after they helped shepherd a bill through Congress that slapped new sanctions on Russia, two top senators are accusing the Trump administration of dragging its feet on implementing the law. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., say the Trump administration has still not provided key details to begin enforcement of the sanctions against Russia. The president begrudgingly signed the bill that was passed overwhelmingly by Congress. http://abcn.ws/2xyBJdT

    The Job Creators Network with 60 other organizations is sending a letter to Congress today urging them to cut taxes by the end of the year: The two-page spread advertisement in The Hill is running tomorrow and is part of JCN's multi-million dollar campaign. Signers include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senior Economic Adviser to the Trump Campaign Stephen Moore, US Chamber, and Chairman of Americans for Hope, Growth and Opportunity Steve Forbes. The Hill Starbucks Howard Schultz: Cutting the corporate tax rate would be 'a mistake' without complete reform. ABC News

    "I hate everyone in the White House!": Trump seethes as advisers fear the president is "unraveling." Vanity Fair

    President's lawyers may offer Mueller a meeting with Trump. Politico

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

    News - The Note: Trump's contempt for the press may be more sinister than bluster

    RRelated Posts


    • billando

      Dear Disqus, for several days I have been asking why I can no longer flag a comment. Today, on this thread, I blocked a commenter - so why have I received three emails from that person? Thank you. (Oh, I have tried your 'help' sites and nothing works, except 'blocking').


      Elimination of the free press is the first step to a dictatorship.

    • rick moss

      Congress wanted to impeach Nixon because he obstructed justice, lied, and was party to a breaking/entering and burglary.

      Congress wanted to impeach Bill Clinton because he lied and had oral sex.

      Trump has already obstructed justice, lied, broken the Lacey Act, the Logan Act, the Public Information Act, violated the emoluments clause of the constitution, ignored and trampled on the Constitutional Rights of "Free Speech" and "Freedom of the Press", and abused taxpayers funds by spending millions on his regular trips to his resorts and golf courses.

      Then there are his obvious ties to Putin and Russian, which makes him a traitor and guilty of treason.

      EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE ABOVE IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE, and some of them carry prison time too. Treason carries a life sentence or death.

      So WHY isn't congress impeaching Trump??? You KNOW they would have impeached Hilary by now if she'd done just ONE of the things that Trump's done.

    • GorillaMyDreams

      Trump and his mindless followers don't want a free press. They want a state-run press that doesn't look into government misdoings, and only reports glowing stories about the President and the rest of the government.

    • jerrykanman

      Mainstream is lamestream. Glad we are done with the media's golden era. The time has come for a lifesaving change.

    • drathvedar

      When he first got elected I was hoping against hope that he would become a little bit more of an adult than the way he acted during the campaign, instead he has done what was almost the impossible: He has gotten worse!

    • Dicazi

      Trump has contempt for anyone that does not praise him 24/7.

    • blueberry

      Trump is the poster child of contempt. Contempt for the press, dems, President Obama, Puerto Rico, the NFL, women, POWs, Gold Star families, the disabled, Mexicans, Americans, the list adds a new member daily.

    • ItsOnlyaFleshWound

      Modern media isn't "fake" news; rather it's "filtered" news. People don't like the (generally) liberal filter, so they switch to FOX--just as Trump tries to get his his message past the media by talking directly to his followers via Twitter. SAD we're so divided, but that's the way it is.

    • Fred Mertz Pants

      Ha, ha, ha, ha...ya, go for it. Take them all off the air. Take all their licenses away.

      Who will carry your little dog and pony show then? Can this guy possibly get any "clownier"?

    • Jay Cunnington

      It may be more sinister than bluster, but if you sat back and insulted me day after day and gave me no credit whatsoever, I'd have contempt for your opinion too. That's just a natural human reaction.

    • Dennis Shipman

      The media has had a smear campaign against Trump from the beginning.
      Which is why most Americans trust Trump more than the media.

    • RG

      Let’s play a game! It’s called Rank That Demagogue*. You get to rate the actions of Donald Trump across the 12 methods demagogues use to seize and maintain power. Each method has a range of zero to ten, with ten being extreme and zero not at all. Maximum score is 120. Let’s play!

      1. Scapegoating: Blaming an in-group’s troubles on an out-group, usually of a different ethnicity, religion, or social class.

      2. Attacking the news media: Claiming that the press is secretly in the service of moneyed interests or foreign powers, or claiming that leading newspapers are simply personally out to get them.

      3. Fear-mongering: Evoking fear in their audiences, to stir them to action and prevent thinking deeply about issues.

      4. Lying: Demagogues choose their words for their effect on their audience's emotions, usually without regard for factual truth or the real severity of the danger. When one lie doesn't work, the demagogue quickly moves on to more lies.

      5. Personal insults and ridicule: Many demagogues have found that ridiculing or insulting opponents is a simple way to shut down reasoned deliberation of competing ideas, especially with an unsophisticated audience.

      6. Emotional oratory: The demagogues' charisma and emotional oratory many times enabled them to win elections despite opposition from the press.

      7. Accusing opponents of weakness and disloyalty: Opposing the very idea of debate, characterizing it as idle, weak, and intellectual. Claiming that being against the leader is being against the nation.

      8. Promising the impossible: Making promises only for their emotional effect on audiences, without regard for how they might be accomplished or without intending to honor them once in office.

      9. Violence and physical intimidation: Encouraging their supporters to violently intimidate opponents.

      10. Vulgarity and outrageous behavior: Many demagogues violate standards of decorum outrageously, to show clearly that they are thumbing their noses at the established order.

      11. Folksy posturing: Making a show of appearing to be down-to-Earth, ordinary citizens just like the people whose votes they seek.

      12. Gross oversimplification: Treating a complex problem, which requires patient reasoning and analysis, as if it results from one simple cause or can be solved by one simple cure.

      Feel free to share your score on this forum. *Credit to Wikipedia for the content, with some necessary editing.

    • msbettyrubble

      If the press has an agenda that they are pushing - well, that's not really the truth is it?

    • Eteamer

      Trump is a straight up Fascist. We fought a world war to get rid of his kind.

    • Conservative_Democrat

      Eliminating the press is exactly what Hitler did in the 1930's.He only let the people hear his words and no one elses.Time for this dictator to go.Republicans must go in order to impeach him,for they are his puppets.Get out and vote people.

    • tom anthony

      Our so-called president speaks of his war with the press, which is a de facto war with the truth.

    • error_does not compute

      Worst ... Prez ... Ever

    • Pat Baxter

      Trump is a very despised madman installed in the WH by Putin. Trump is out to destroy as much of America as he (Trump) can. Whether it's Trump's obstruction of justice, whatever wrongdoing is hidden in Trump's tax records, Trump's many conflicts of interest or Trump's "interactions" with Putin/Russia) it's time to get about the business of impeaching a character (Trump) who never should have been in the WH. Trump's hand-chosen Secretary of State (Tillerson) is right, of course...Trump is a moron, BUT a very dangerous moron.