President Trump is pretty hard on the media. He calls CNN "fake news" (and he routinely embarrasses White House reporter Jim Acosta), dismissing the "Gray Lady" as "the failing New York Times," and has repeatedly bashed Trump-hating hosts and hostesses at MSNBC.
Of course, presidents have battled the press all the way back to the founding. What makes Trump different is that he doesn't mince words — and he's got Twitter, where he can post even his most undisciplined tweet any time, day or night.
But now anti-Trump Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) wants to make it a federal crime to "intimidate" journalists. Poor babies, the president's being mean to them!
Swalwell, you might remember, has accused Fox News host Tucker Carlson of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin and has claimed that Trump has “instated more pro-Russia policies that America has seen in decades." Needless to say he offers no proof for those charges.
“President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration have created a toxic atmosphere,” Swalwell said in a statement. “It’s not just about labeling reports of his constant falsehoods as #FakeNews — it’s his casting of media personalities and outlets as anti-American targets, and encouraging people to engage in violence.”
Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has introduced what he calls the "Journalist Protection Act." He says the bill, if passed, would protect reporters from that horrible “toxic environment."
The bill would make it a federal crime “to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering for a media organization." The legislation also “represents a clear statement that assaults against people engaged in reporting is unacceptable, and helps ensure law enforcement is able to punish those who interfere with newsgathering.”
Twelve Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors: Reps. Maxine Waters (CA), Steve Cohen (TN), David Cicilline (RI), Grace Napolitano (CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Andre Carson (IN.), Debbie Dingell (MI.), Darren Soto (FL), Ro Khanna (CA), Jose Serrano (NY), Bobby Rush (IL), and Gwen Moore (WI).
"And how is President Trump “encouraging people to engage in violence” against journalists?" WND wrote.
Swalwell said Trump “created a climate of extreme hostility to the press” when he said false reports by “fake news media” are “a stain on America.” The president made the comment after a series of reporting errors made by CNN, ABC News and Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel. On Dec. 10, 2017, Trump tweeted: “Very little discussion of all the purposely false and defamatory stories put out this week by the Fake News Media. They are out of control – correct reporting means nothing to them. Major lies written, then forced to be withdrawn after they are exposed … a stain on America!”
Swalwell also cited Trump’s August statement faulting mainstream media for deepening divisions in the country and “trying to take away our history and our heritage.” The congressman ripped Trump for calling “fake news” purveyors an “enemy of the American people” in February.
Hey, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.