The dispute between President Donald Trump and CNN reached new heights on Monday, when the network again swayed against the president's latest attacks, including that CNN International misrepresents the United States before its global audience.
According to network sources, a Trump tweet over the weekend criticizing CNN International produced additional frustration and exasperation due to the inherent risks of overseas reporting and the feeling that his message endangered journalists working in countries hostile to press freedom.
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his broadcast on Monday, presenter Wolf Blitzer responded to the president's latest claims of "false news" by saying: "CNN and CNN International are not sponsored by any state, nor any autocrat, nor any political organization, and despite the constant criticism of the president, we are unbreakable in our mission, free and independent as the press should be. "
Blitzer & # 39; s The statement followed a pack of clips of nearly five minutes representing CNN International journalists who reported dangerous situations, including under gunfire in Libya and by helicopter fleeing ISIS in Iraq.
The segment was in response to a tweet that Trump sent on Saturday: "@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside the US, CNN International remains a major source of news (false), and very negatively represent our nation before the WORLD.The outside world does not see the truth of them! "
The president also took to Twitter on Monday:" We should have a contest on which of the Networks, besides CNN and not including Fox, she is the most dishonest, corrupt and / or distorted in her political coverage of her favorite president (I.) Everyone is bad Winner to receive the FALSE NEWS TROPHY! "
In addition to Blitzer's work, on Monday afternoon the network ran a large segment with CNN International correspondents Clarissa Ward and Ben Wedeman, in which they discussed the president's tweets and the dangers of reporting abroad. Ward said the president had sent the signal to the world that "it's an open season for journalists."
Other hosts, including Brian Stelter and John Berman, have also addressed the problem.
Due to the frequency of Trump attacks against CNN, the network does not always respond officially to their provocations. But on Saturday, his public relations account tweeted: "It's not CNN's job to represent the US Before the world, that's yours, our job is to report the news. #FactsFirst."
Explaining why The network used Twitter to return the fire, a CNN source said: "Anything that endangers the safety of our teams in the field is clearly something that we would feel very strongly, and that is why we react in that way."
In response to Trump's criticism of CNN International, reporter Christiane Amanpour posted on Twitter a photo of a deceased colleague. "If President Trump knew the facts," he wrote on Twitter, "I would never have sent that tweet." Here is my (last) waitress Margaret Moth, who received a bullet in the face that covered the facts and the truth in Bosnia. #FactsFirst. "
Amanpour followed by email on Monday.
" Struggle against a free and independent press of the land of freedom itself, gives Around the world, "he said." Without a free press there is no democracy. A quick look from Google to our world will show it. This skirmish between the president and the press is not a joke, this is fundamental. "
Undoubtedly, since Trump began his war against the press, CNN often delights in playing the foil, devoting large amounts of airtime to his conflicts with the White House, his highly publicized current marketing campaign -" Facts First "- is a not-so-subtle direct response to Trump, and with the same badurance with which the president criticized CNN, the ratings of the network have increased.
But according to Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists , Trump's tweet about CNN International presents very real problems for reporters in dangerous situations.
"I think this reinforces a point he has repeatedly expressed, which is that he really does not care about press freedom. nor the rights of journalists, "Simon said." He really does not care that journalists around the world are being killed or imprisoned in record numbers. I think it is clear that if you are a rapist of press freedom, an abuser of press freedom, you will not receive any rejection of President Trump, and I think that undermines the ability of journalists around the world to work safe and independent way. "
Simon said that the vision of journalism expressed in that tweet by Trump – that the media should represent his country abroad, without informing impartially – is in line with the vision that many undemocratic leaders have.
the extent to which that sentiment echoes the opinions of authoritarian leaders, gives them power, "said Simon. "That authoritarian leaders who have policies that undermine and restrict press freedom do not feel that their actions can undermine their relations with the United States, that is an important point of influence that no longer exists."
Trump's role in the proposed merger between AT & T and CNN's parent company, Time Warner, is a matter not far from the surface. A week ago, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop the merger, amid speculation that the administration is trying to use the agreement to force Time Warner to sell the network.
At the White House press conference on Monday, a reporter quoted Trump's tweets and asked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the president had discussed the merger with Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox News.
"Not that I know," he said.