Donald Trump calls media 'enemy of the American people'

US President Donald Trump regularly accuses the media of overstating his setbacks.
US President Donald Trump regularly accuses the media of overstating his setbacks.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Donald Trump ratcheted up his attacks on the media Friday (Feb 17), describing the press as "the enemy of the American people!" in a tweet.

Shortly after landing at his holiday home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida - where he is spending a third consecutive weekend - the president lashed out in 140 characters.

"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" Trump wrote.

Trump had tweeted an earlier post which targeted the New York Times, CNN, NBC "and many more" media - and ended with the exclamation "SICK!"

But he swiftly deleted that missive before reposting the definitive version - adding two more "enemies" to his blacklist.

Many US presidents have criticised the press, but Trump's language has more closely echoed criticism leveled by authoritarian leaders around the world.

Trump, who regularly accuses the media of overstating his setbacks, also has accused journalists of failing to show sufficient respect for his accomplishments - including in their coverage of a rambling press conference on Thursday in which he voiced a litany of grievances against their industry.

Many reporters were taken aback by the ranting press conference described by some as bizarre, but Trump echoed the words of praise he got from one rightwing commentator and insisted that Thursday's outing had been a bravura performance.

 

"'One of the most effective press conferences I've ever seen!' says Rush Limbaugh. Many agree. Yet FAKE MEDIA calls it differently! Dishonest," Trump wrote on Twitter about an hour after the earlier tweet.

The 70-year-old built his campaign on criticising the press as biased.

On Thursday, he launched a long diatribe at a grievance-filled news conference, in which he blamed the media for his one-month-old administration's problems.

In four tumultuous weeks, Trump has seen his national security advisor ousted, a cabinet nominee withdraw, a centerpiece immigration policy fail in the courts and a tidal wave of damaging leaks.