World Press Freedom Day, commemorated on Tuesday, comes just days after a GQ writer was hit with a barrage of antisemitic attacks following the publication of an article that criticized Melania Trump’s skincare line. After Trump’s wife called Julia Ioffe’s piece “dishonest” and “disingenuous,” the journalist said she received phone calls threatening her life and messages referencing the Holocaust.
It’s unsurprising the Trump fans would react so harshly to a journalist considering the way the Republican presidential front-runner has treated and spoken about them:
- Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was arrested in March after manhandling Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Though prosecutors eventually dropped the charges, they said there’s no doubt that the incident happened, despite team Trump’s initial denials.
- The Trump campaign has blocked several reporters from attending events, including Politico’s Ben Schreckinger, BuzzFeed’s McCay Coppins and Mother Jones’ Pema Levy. In January, The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel said he was told that a Trump appearance at an Iowa pizza restaurant was a private event, even though there were over a dozen reporters there covering it.
- The businessman has thrown journalists out of events for covering things in a way he didn’t like. The Sun Sentinel’s Michael Mayo said he was kicked out of a rally for leaving the designated press pen. Univision’s Jorge Ramos was ejected from a press conference after criticizing Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
- In December, Trump referred to some reporters as “lying, disgusting people,” though he vowed he’d “never kill them.” Thanks?
- Trump has hurled personal insults at several media figures, including CNN’s S.E. Cupp and Ana Navarro, whom he called “two of the dumbest people in politics.” He also implied that Fox News’ Megyn Kelly had her period after she pressed him to answer questions during a debate.
- In February, he pledged to strengthen libel laws so that it would be easier for him to follow through on all the lawsuits he’s threatened. “When The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected,” he said.
- His relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin is also worrying, considering the Kremlin’s history of cracking down on independent journalism. The watchdog group Freedom House ranks Russian press as one of the least free in the world.
Author: Alana Horowitz Satlin