Donald Trump's demands that journalists who make even the most minor mistakes ought to be fired is growing more disturbing by the day.
Donald Trump calling anyone else out for being “out of control” and telling “major lies” would be amusing, if it weren’t frighteningly dictatorial because of his position.
For the person occupying the office of the presidency to attack reporters by name on social media, directing his mob of followers after them, is bad enough. But to double down on that despotic behavior and smear the free press as harmful to the nation is truly appalling.
On Saturday, Washington Post reporter David Weigel posted photos from Trump’s rally in Florida the night before which called into question Trump’s claims about attendance. It turned out that some of the images were misleading, and Weigel quickly deleted them and explained his error.
But that wasn’t good enough for Trump, who tagged Weigel in a tweet screeching about “FAKE NEWS” and calling for Weigel to be fired.
As CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out, by including Weigel’s Twitter handle, Trump was all but directing his 44 million followers to attack the reporter over an innocent, and quickly corrected, mistake.
And numerous other voices from the media spoke up in defense of Weigel and to shame Trump for his outrageous behavior.
But Trump wasn’t done, as he randomly spouted off on Twitter again 24 hours later, whining about “purposely false and defamatory stories … by the Fake News Media.” And he had the utter audacity to slam the entire free press — a pillar of our democracy — as “a stain on America.”
This has apparently become Trump’s newest obsession — any reporter or journalist who makes any kind of mistake, no matter how innocent or how quickly accounted for, ought to be fired.
The hypocrisy is as galling as it could be, considering Trump’s penchant for dishonesty, and his unwillingness to admit he might be wrong no matter the evidence presented.
And using his position in the White House to smear private citizens and demand that they lose their job is thoroughly despicable, and smacks of precisely the kind of authoritarianism he so blatantly admires in other world leaders.