[Ed. – Doth protest too much.]
The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) on Saturday pushed back against President Trump’s claims that news outlets covering his administration critically are reporting “fake news.”
“We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations and we are not the enemy of the American people,” WHCA president and Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason said at the organization’s annual dinner.
Trump and his chief strategist Stephen Bannon have repeatedly referred to members of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” while Trump himself has long maintained an antagonistic relationship with the press.
Mason’s speech received a mixed reception in the room. Many stood and applauded, but about half the audience stayed in their seats.
During his opening remarks, the WHCA president argued that “press access under President Trump has been very good,” citing several press conferences in Trump’s early days in office and reporters having access aboard Air Force One.
But he also went after Trump’s rhetoric toward media outlets, saying, “Freedom of the press is a building block of our democracy. Undermining that by seeking to delegitimize journalists is dangerous to a healthy republic.”