Suppressing free press is how "dictators" get started: Senator John McCain on Trump

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New York [U.S.], Feb. 19 (ANI): With President Donald Trump earning the ire of the global press by branding a certain section of the U.S. media as "the enemy of the American people," Senator John McCain chimed in and slammed Trump's by noting that dictators "get started by suppressing free press." The observation was startling, as it was from a sitting member of Congress against the President of the United States, especially considering McCain is a member of Trump's party, reports CNN. "I hate the press," the Arizona Republican sarcastically told NBC News' Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press." "I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It's vital." But he continued, "If you want to preserve -- I'm very serious now -- if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press," McCain said in the interview. "And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started." The 2008 Republican presidential nominee said Americans must pay attention to history to understand the past connections between leaders of oppressive governments and efforts to stifle the media. "They get started by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power -- when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history." Carl Bernstein, the legendary journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, tore into Trump's repeated attacks on the media saying that his constants barbs for the press are more treacherous than those of Richard Nixon, the president he helped bring down after his investigation. "The most dangerous 'enemy of the people' is presidential lying--always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon's. Real news (not fake) is that @realDonaldTrump trying to make conduct of press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged)conduct of POTUS," Bernstein said in a series of tweets. Bernstein, who was critical of Trump during the campaign and since the election, further noted that when the press reported on Hillary Clinton's unauthorized email server, Trump saw journalists as "patriots." "When focus of press was on Hillary's server--by same 'fake news' orgs/'enemies of the people' cited by @realDonaldTrump--he saw patriots," he said. Bernstein's enraged tweets came as a response to Donald Trump calling his journalistic critics "enemies of the people". "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!," the President tweeted. Trump, who has launched a 'FAKE NEWS' campaign against his critics in the media, took the battle to another level, after he was criticized for his 77 minute chaotic press conference, where he called the assembled journalists dishonest, accused a Jewish reporter of lying and ordered him to sit down, and told a black reporter asking about the Congressional Black Caucus: "Are they friends of yours? Set up a meeting." (ANI)