Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin had a good chuckle together as the reporters who "insulted" Trump. Trump loves to verbally assault his media critics. Putin simply has them killed.
Before Donald Trump had his extended meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the two men shared a laugh over their mutual animosity toward the free press.
Guardian reporter Alec Luhn tweeted about the exchange, in which Putin pointed at the journalists who were covering the meet-and-greet between the two men, and reportedly asked Trump, “These are the ones that insulted you?”
The two world leaders then laughed together.
"These are the ones that insulted you?" Putin asked Trump, gesturing at the journalists being ushered out of the room. Chuckles all around https://t.co/yNiAF3Skfr
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) July 7, 2017
“Вот эти тебя обижали?”: Путин и Трамп обсудили на встрече журналистов pic.twitter.com/cWZQA8HjSC
— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) July 7, 2017
Trump is in the middle of his ongoing war against the press in America, during which he has called them the “enemy” and has systematically cut off their access to his publicly funded administration. He has turned to outlets like the sycophantic Fox News and Breitbart, which has a direct pipeline to the White House through its former chairman and current Trump aide Steve Bannon.
The exchange of laughter with Putin is familiar territory for Trump, who never seems to have a bad word for his fellow travelers in the world of autocrats.
Under Putin, Russia has become a killing field for reporters. Since 2000, when Putin took over leadership, 34 journalists have been murdered in Russia. In the same time period, three were killed in America, two of them in one incident in Virginia.
Nina Ognianova, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Politifact that reporters are “slain with impunity in Putin’s Russia,” adding, “Their killers are emboldened to act by an administration that marginalizes them, isolates them, and downplays their role in society.”
Reporters like Anna Politkovskaya exposed human rights abuses by Putin, and she was killed for departing from his official party line.
Trump and Putin, in addition to their other shared interests, have utter disdain for any legitimate media that does not simply function as their propaganda machine, the way Fox does for Trump and RT does for Putin.