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Donald Trump Is Apparently Ignorant About What Freedom of the Press Means

We knew all along Donald Trump hated the media. We knew he wanted to loosen those libel laws. But we didn’t have confirmation until today just how ignorant he is about freedom of the press.

Trump went on yet another anti-mainstream media tweetstorm today, which capped off with kind of an amazing declaration:

That is literally the definition of freedom of the press.

Okay, so let’s just take one example here to illustrate what Trump’s problem is. The thing most bugging him right now is a New York Times report about internal campaign chaos and people trying to get him to stop going off-message.

That report contains various accounts, through anonymous sources close to the campaign, of how the campaign is agonizing about all the heat they’re getting because Trump keeps putting his foot in his mouth. There are two documented interventions in the report (which Trump has denied took place).

Now, politicians always deny negative reports about internal strife. It’s kind of their thing. But when they complain, there are two possibilities: either they got bad sources or the campaign is covering up.

Trump is just calling these reports lies. CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out to a Trump spokesman this morning (full interview here) that by doing that, he’s insinuating that the press is just making things up and not going to sources at all. Even though there has been a lot of documented reporting over the course of this campaign cycle about strife within the Trump campaign.

Now, when newspapers write false things––as Trump well knows––there are legal remedies you can seek. But it’s worth noting here that in the interview linked above, Stelter repeatedly asked the Trump spokesman for specific examples of untruths in the Times report. He declined to be specific and said the whole thing is inaccurate.

A lack of knowledge about the protections granted in the United States Constitution is a terrifying quality in a potential President of the United States. Especially if he still plans on taking another look at those libel laws…

[featured image via Gage Skidmore]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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