President Trump’s constant criticism of journalists and the media is a “dangerous” attack on the freedom of the press, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights said Wednesday.
During a news conference in Geneva, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein spoke about Trump’s recent remarks against the media, from claiming journalists don’t love America at a really in Phoenix to criticizing their coverage of his response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.
Zeid called Trump’s rhetoric “stunning,” Reuters reported.
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution, but very much something the United States defended over the years is now under attack from the President,” he said. “It’s sort of a stunning turnaround. And ultimately the sequence is a dangerous one.”
Focusing specifically on the news outlets that have been the most frequent focus of Trump’s attacks, like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, Zeid said calling the organizations “‘fake’ does tremendous damage.”
“And to refer to individual journalists in this way, I have to ask the question is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?” he said, referencing a recent assault against a reporter from The Guardian who was body slammed by a politician for asking a question.
“The President prides himself as a taboo breaker, indeed his supporters see him as such. But at the time I expressed my feeling that this was grossly irresponsible, because it has consequences, it emboldens those who may think similarly to sharpen their assaults on these communities,” he said. “I almost feel that the President is driving the bus of humanity and we’re careening down a mountain path. And in taking these measures, at least from a human rights perspective, it seems to be reckless driving.”