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From fake news to enemy of the people: An anatomy of Trump's tweets

Fake Donald Trump tweets being generated in China are seen on a Twitter timeline on 27 January 2017
Fake Donald Trump tweets being generated in China are seen on a Twitter timeline on 27 January 2017

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The following is an excerpt of a 30 January 2019 CPJ blog post by Stephanie Sugars/CPJ North America Research Assistant.

Since announcing his candidacy in the 2016 presidential elections to the end of his second year in office, U.S. President Donald Trump has sent 1,339 tweets about the media that were critical, insinuating, condemning, or threatening. In lieu of formal appearances as president, Trump has tweeted over 5,400 times to his more than 55.8 million followers; over 11 percent of these insulted or criticized journalists and outlets, or condemned and denigrated the news media as a whole.

To better monitor this negative rhetoric, CPJ's North America program created a database to track tweets in which Trump mentioned the media, individual journalists, news outlets, or journalistic sources in a negative tone.

The president's tweets can have an impact and consequences for the press both at home and abroad. His rhetoric has given cover to autocratic regimes: world leaders from Cambodia to the Philippines have echoed terms like "fake news" in the midst of crackdowns on press freedom. And the rhetoric has sometimes resulted in harassment of individual journalists in the U.S., where CPJ is aware of several journalists who say they were harassed or threatened online after being singled out on Twitter by Trump.

CPJ's database of tweets can be viewed here and our methodology can be found here.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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