The legendary newsman, Dan Rather, took to Facebook on Wednesday to rally members of the press corps to continue to hold Donald Trump accountable. Describing his reaction to Trump’s Tuesday news conference, in which Trump launched an attack on the press in order to avoid answering questions about his disputed claims regarding how much money he had donated to veterans’ organizations, Rather said that he “felt a shudder down my spine.”
“This is a dirty, nasty election. And it is only going to get worse. The reporters in the trenches need no lecture from me. They are walking through daily minefields, bracing themselves against winds of discontent whose effects no one can predict,” Rather wrote.
Dan Rather is familiar with how nasty elections can get. During the 1968 Democratic Convention, when the cops were rioting in the streets and Mayor Daley had declared war on antiwar protesters, Rather continued to work the floor, trying to ask questions of delegates and politicians. He got punched in the stomach on national television for his troubles.
Rather argues that today’s reporters are facing the kind of bipartisan accusations of press bias that has been the hallmark of American politics for decades, but, he cautions, there is an air of “violence” around Donald Trump that he understands can be intimidating to individual members of the press who find themselves singled out as Trump’s targets.
Rather reminds reporters that the “pen is still mightier than the sword,” and urges the press to remember that as they keep Trump the bully not to “back up, back down, back away or turn around” when faced with Trump’s efforts to intimidate them.
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