It’s no secret that President Donald Trump has a contentious relationship with the press. And while Trump may love to hate the media, he relies on it to disseminate whatever he “message” he may have for the American electorate.
However, on several occasions, the president has gone from merely criticizing the press to actually threatening reporters and news organizations. He has even said that the American media is “the enemy of the American people.”
Now, however, someone is fighting back against Trump.
PEN America is an organization that was founded in 1922 and states as its purpose to:
“Defend and celebrate free expression in the United States and worldwide through the advancement of literature and human rights.”
And PEN has now filed suit against Trump in a federal court in the Southern District of New York, alleging:
“President Trump has directed his threats and retaliatory actions at specific outlets whose content and viewpoints he views as hostile. As a result, journalists who report on the President or his Administration reasonably believe they face a credible threat of government retaliation for carrying out the duties of their profession. President Trump has thus intentionally hung a sword of Damocles over the heads of countless writers, journalists, and media entities, including members of Plaintiff PEN American Center, Inc.”
The act of retaliation cited by PEN in their filing refer to statements made by the president toward Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and The Washington Post. They also reference threats made by Trump regarding the AT&T-Time-Warner merger earlier this year. Time-Warner is the parent company of CNN, which Trump has repeatedly derided as “fake news.”
Jennifer Egan, President of PEN, also notes on the group’s website that the president has crossed the line between fair comment on the media into outright threats of punishment:
“When President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional.”
Though he hasn’t yet commented on the lawsuit, it seems safe to assume that he will before long.
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