Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Ranking Member Cohen Condemns President Trump’s Statements Attacking the Freedom of the Press

October 12, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today condemned President Trump’s recent tweets challenging the license of NBC and other news networks and his comments attacking the freedom of the press during his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office. During the meeting with the Prime Minister, President Trump said, “It is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.”

“President’s Trump’s recent statements and tweets attacking the freedom of the press and NBC News are a direct attack on the First Amendment and continue a dangerous pattern of the President undermining the Constitution,” said Congressman Cohen. “James Madison said the ‘freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.’ Yet this President has continued to make statements and act in a way to disrespect and delegitimize the press. He has referred to numerous media outlets as ‘fake news,’ he has called the New York Times the ‘failing New York Times,’ and has called the Washington Post the ‘Amazon Washington Post.’ President Trump retweeted a GIF of himself wrestling the CNN logo and has taken to twitter to attack media personalities such as Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Megyn Kelly. He excluded American journalists from covering his meeting with the Russian Ambassador and Foreign Minister and has limited video and audio access to White House press briefings. President Trump even went as far as to call the press ‘the enemy of the American people.’ President Trump’s reckless, authoritarian-like attacks on the legitimacy and accuracy of the press are alarming. Attacks on the press, along with attacks on the courts, are the first signs of fascism. Keeping the citizenry informed with accurate information about government actions is vital for the effective functioning of democratic government and for ensuring the ultimate sovereignty of the people over their leaders.”

In July, Congressman Cohen, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), and Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) hosted a bipartisan forum on freedom of the press entitled, “The State of Press Freedom in 21stCentury America.” You can watch the forum here.