Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

camera, White House logo

Democratic sponsors of the Journalism Protection Act are denouncing President Donald Trump for creating a "climate of extreme hostility to the press." (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Countering Trump's 'Hostility' Toward Media, Bill Would Protect Journalists From Intimidation and Assault

"It is clear that not only is the role of the news media in our democracy under attack, but the safety of individual journalists is threatened."

Jessica Corbett

Condemning President Donald Trump for creating a "climate of extreme hostility to the press," more than a dozen Democrats in the U.S. House, with support from the largest communications labor union in the country, have proposed the Journalism Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to attack or intimidate reporters on the job.

"This is a dangerous time to be a journalist. The threatening atmosphere is palpable."
—Bernie Lunzer,
The NewsGuild

"President Donald Trump's campaign and administration have created a toxic atmosphere," said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the bill's lead sponsor.

"It's not just about labeling reports of his constant falsehoods as #FakeNews," Swalwell added, "it's his casting of media personalities and outlets as anti-American targets, and encouraging people to engage in violence."

Since Trump took office, journalists and free press advocates have decried stunts that have underscored his hostility toward the news outlets and journalists who dare to report critically on his dishonesty and policies. Such stunts have included last month's #FakeNewsAwards as well as Trump tweeting a video of him punching a wrestling promoter with the CNN logo edited over the promoter's face.

"This is a dangerous time to be a journalist," noted Bernie Lunzer, president of The NewsGuild, a division of the Communications Workers of America, the nation's biggest labor union for media workers.

"The threatening atmosphere is palpable," Lunzer added. "The Journalist Protection Act deserves the support of everyone who believes our democracy depends on a free and vibrant press."

The bill would make it "a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering for a media organization," according to a statement released Monday.

The News Media for Open Government, a coalition of news media and journalism organizations that work to promote freedom of the press, has also expressed support for the bill.

Rick Blum, the coalition's director, pointed to recent online harassment of journalists, which "has included death threats and threats of sexual and other physical violence," as well as the "dozens of physical assaults on journalists doing their jobs" that have been documented by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

The tracker, launched last year, flagged more than 40 physical attacks of reporters in 2017, including two assaults by U.S. politicians. It also highlights broader threats, such as when a man allegedly made 22 threatening phone calls to CNN headquarters last month and, according to unsealed documents, shouted, "Fake news. I'm coming to gun you down," claiming he planned to kill everyone on the premises.

"It is clear that not only is the role of the news media in our democracy under attack, but the safety of individual journalists is threatened," Blum concluded. "It's time to reverse course."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Watch: Bernie Sanders Argues 'We Must End the Greed of Big Pharma'

The live address comes as the Senate Budget Committee chair continues to push for including Medicare expansion and drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better package.

Common Dreams staff ·

Reconciliation Framework 'Not Enough' to Push Through Infrastructure Bill, Progressives Warn

"We need to have a vote ready for the Build Back Better plan, not a framework," insisted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "We want to have both of these votes together."

Brett Wilkins ·

McDonald's Workers Join 'Striketober' and Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

One striker participated because "McDonald's still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe."

Jessica Corbett ·

Breaking: FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids 5 to 11

With just one abstention, the advisory panel voted 17-0 to approve the vaccine for younger children which scientific review has deemed both safe and effective against the deadly virus.

Common Dreams staff ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo