Trump attacks on free press mirror authoritarian regimes, Clinton tells World Voices event


NEW YORK (AP)

Hillary Clinton excoriated President Donald Trump for his treatment of the media, saying in remarks on Sunday that press rights and free speech are “under open assault” in the current administration, which she compared to an authoritarian regime.

“We are living through an all-out war on truth, facts and reason,” Clinton said at the PEN America World Voices Festival, in Manhattan. “When leaders deny things we can see with our own eyes, like the size of a crowd at the inauguration, when they refuse to accept settled science when it comes to urgent challenges like climate change ... it is the beginning of the end of freedom, and that is not hyperbole. It’s what authoritarian regimes through history have done.”

Clinton, who was delivering the festival’s Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, began by discussing threats to press freedom and free speech around the globe, including in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But she soon turned her remarks to the United States under Trump, saying that such freedoms are “in the most perilous position I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

“Today we have a president who seems to reject the role of a free press in our democracy,” she said of her 2016 opponent. “Although obsessed with his own press coverage, he evaluates it based not on whether it provides knowledge or understanding, but solely on whether the daily coverage helps him and hurts his opponents.”

And she added: “Now, given his track record, is it any surprise that according to the latest round of revelations, he joked about throwing reporters in jail to make them talk?”

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