Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended the role of the media on Thursday, criticizing the president for branding them the “enemy of the people.”
“At a time like this when the press are under daily assault it is important, I think, for candidates whether the coverage on any given day is critical or supportive or somewhere in between, know that the press is never the enemy of the people,” Buttigieg said.
The South Bend mayor and 2020 presidential candidate commented on the role of the media during a speech to the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Miami.
“You are the defenders of the people, the chroniclers of the people, and the watchdogs of the people and you have told the stories of our time,” he said.
Buttigieg said that even though he ended up in politics, he once considered a career as a broadcast journalist. He thanked the journalists in the room for pursuing their career despite the “added psychological challenge” of the racial divide in the country.
“Thank you for holding to account politicians and your own workplaces and I hope to see diversity grow in your newsrooms and the halls of power,” he said.
President Donald Trump repeatedly derides the establishment media as “fake news” accusing them of acting as the “opposition party” and the “enemy of the people.”
Trump’s rhetoric has alarmed prominent journalists in the country, who repeatedly warn the country that the president’s criticism of the media would lead to physical violence.
“The phrase ‘enemy of the people’ is not just false, it’s dangerous,” wrote New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger in February. “It has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information. And it is particularly reckless coming from someone whose office gives him broad powers to fight or imprison the nation’s enemies.”