Trump ridiculed after claiming journalists didn't help during Hurricane Harvey
Despite facing countless rebuttals from media outlets over accusations of 'fake news', President Donald Trump has once again expressed his disdain for journalists. This time, the President targeted members of the media who had been sent to report on Hurricane Harvey.
In what began as a commendation of the coast guards that had saved 11,000 people during the tropical storm, Trump soon trailed off into an apparently irrelevant and unfounded attack on the reporters who had provided coverage of the incident.
“Think of it: [the coastguards saved] almost 11,000 people ― by going into winds that the media would not go into," he said. "They will not go into those winds. Unless it’s a really good story, in which case they will.”
Well, it seems that Hurricane Harvey must have been "a really good story" by Trump's terms, because many journalists did "go into those winds". Footage and images of reporters going above and beyond the call of duty by assisting in rescue efforts have been distributed by many news outlets since the disaster struck.
One of the first to respond to the slanderous statement was Andy Campbell, a senior reporter for HuffPost, who said that he was "literally on the helicopter" with the coastguards that had rescued people.
Campbell also noted in following tweets that, while he was with the coastguards, his "colleague was on a boat putting down his recorder and rescuing dozens of people," and his "other colleague was helping take supplies to a domestic violence shelter in need".
This is more than can be said for President Trump, who, as Campbell states, "didn't even talk to the victims".
Trump did, in fact, fly in twice to Houston - but stayed clear of the disaster zone the first time, claiming he did not want to divert resources from the rescue work. During the second trip, President Trump and the First Lady visited flood survivors and volunteers at a shelter in the affected city - but they were still not involved in rescue efforts.
Another employee of the media, Bill Bishop, also hit back at Trump for his statements. Bishop, who is the managing editor of KHOU-TV in Houston, took to Twitter to express his frustration at the President's comments.
Other Twitter users were confused at why Trump felt the need to mention the media in the first place. "Why is he comparing the media to the Coast Guard?" wrote user, @Beutifulgame. "The Media do not do the same job as the Coast Guard."
The President's repeated denunciations of some publications and broadcasters have even been discussed by the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who said last week that:
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only a cornerstone of the Constitution but very much something the United States defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the president himself. It’s a stunning turnaround.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, responded to this in a written statement:
“We believe in free press and think it is an important part of our democracy, but the press also has a big responsibility to the American people to be truthful. Their job is to report the news, not create it."
President Trump's final comments after visiting Houston were focused much more on his interaction with the victims than the media, however. "It’s been really nice. It’s been a wonderful thing," he said. "As tough as this was, it’s been a wonderful thing, I think even for the country to watch it and for the world to watch. It’s been beautiful."
As relief efforts continue, journalists are still on the scene.