Journalist Dan Rather took to Facebook to criticize the Trump administration's handling of the media and alleged misrepresentation of facts and truth.
“These are not normal times," Rather wrote. "These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. When you have a spokesperson for the president of the United States wrap up a lie in the Orwellian phrase 'alternative facts'…When you have a press secretary in his first appearance before the White House reporters threaten, bully, lie, and then walk out of the briefing room without the cajones to answer a single question…When you have a President stand before the stars of the fallen CIA agents and boast about the size of his crowds (lies) and how great his authoritarian inaugural speech was….These are not normal times.”
Rather was referring to the tumultuous first days after President Donald Trump was sworn in. This involved a fiery press conference with White House press secretary Sean Spicer (video below) who blasted a Time magazine reporter for falsely reporting that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. That reporter apologized for the error, according to The Hill. Spicer went on to criticize the media for reporting a low crowd turnout for Trump's inauguration.
That press conference, in which Spicer didn't answer any questions, was followed by an NBC News appearance of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, who said Spicer “gave alternative facts" about the crowd sizes at the inauguration.
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“The press has never seen anything like this before,” Rather said. “The public has never seen anything like this before. And the political leaders of both parties have never seen anything like this before.”
Rather then said Republicans should do more to combat misinformation from the White House.
“There is one group of people who can do a lot - very quickly. And that is Republicans in Congress,” Rather said. “Without their support, Donald Trump's presidency will falter. So here is what I think everyone in the press must do. If you are interviewing a Paul Ryan, a Mitch McConnell, or any other GOP elected official, the first question must be 'what will you do to combat the lying from the White House?' If they dodge and weave, keep with the follow ups. And if they refuse to give a satisfactory answer, end the interview.”
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Rather added: “Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.”