University of Utah and Brigham Young University professors agree President Donald Trump appears to be on the path toward eliminating important protections for the press.
As The Poynter Institute reported, RonNell Andersen Jones, a law professor at the University of Utah, and Lisa Grow Sun, an associate professor of law at BYU, recently worked together on an academic paper that argues Trump’s feud with the media is more than just a spectacle or way to deflect attention away from himself.
It’s something "darker," Poynter reported.
"The evidence is overwhelming that Trump is engaged in something more substantial and more troubling than his predecessors,” Jones wrote in the study. “Because he appears to be on the path toward eliminating important protections for the press, we think this issue absolutely demands careful public attention.”
The paper, called “The President’s ‘Enemy’ Rhetoric and the Press,” references a theory from German political theorist Carl Schmitt, who wrote that politicians divide their worlds into both friends and enemies, with the enemy being a central component to their leadership strategy.
The politician will identify an enemy who threatens the country, they wrote.
In this case, Trump has made the media that enemy, which, in turn, could limit even more enemies, the academics wrote.
Trump’s attitude toward the media “jeopardizes the media’s ability to act as an obstacle to the creation of other enemies — such as the judiciary, the intelligence community, people of certain races, immigrants and refugees,” the paper reads.
This could lead to the elimination of press protections in general, the paper said.
“In the things he says, the things he does, and the things he forecasts, Trump is consistently and unrelentingly delineating the press as such a force — an ‘other’ that threatens the political unity of the state and that ought to be distrusted, countered, and perhaps ultimately stripped of ordinarily observed rights and liberties because of this exceptional status,” the authors say.
Trump’s been in constant battle with the media since he became a presidential candidate. Some say it’s a dead-end war, while others suggest it may be a fake war to deflect attention. Others question if Trump actually loves the media more than he lets on.
The 45th president mentioned the media as recently as Monday in a series of tweets, according to USA Today.