Trump comments unacceptable
president trump has made no secret of his disdain for most sections of the media, often claiming they are the carriers of so-called fake news.
the nature of journalism is that writers and broadcasters often find themselves at odds with powerful people in all sections of society. that those powerful people would resent interest in their activities is not surprising.
however it is one thing to disagree with what is written or broadcast but to encourage physical action be taken against members of the journalistic world is entirely wrong.
that is what the american president apparently did when he told a rally in support of republican congressman greg gianforte that he was trump's "kind of guy" because he had assaulted a journalist last year.
mr gianforte eventually admitted that he had 'body slammed' guardian journalist ben jacobs in 2017 and was hit with a fine and community service for his actions.
while the american courts seemed to take a dim view of mr gianforte's actions, the country's president made light of them and even suggested the assault had helped the guilty party to victory in that election.
journalists in the mainstream media are subject to stringent professional codes and to the rigours of the law so as to make sure that what is published is fair and accurate.
that is entirely as it should be. what is not acceptable is the use of physical violence or state repression to silence people who have shone a light on many injustices around the world.
it is ironic that the us president chose this time to voice these opinions, a time when a journalist working for the new york times has most likely been murdered in a saudi arabian embassy in turkey.
mr trump's attitude to the disappearance of jamal khashoggi after he was last seen going into the saudi embassy in istanbul has not been so equivocal.
he has quoted us financial interests as a reason for treading softly, claiming that 500,000 american jobs could be at stake.
in ireland two journalists – veronica guerin and martin o'hagan – were murdered because of their attempts to highlight illegal activities.
ms guerin was the victim of dublin gangsters while mr o'hagan was murdered by loyalists.
journalists in ireland have also been subject to what many believe is unwarranted attention of the authorities.
most recently barry mccaffrey and trevor birney were arrested in an extremely heavy-handed manner and questioned about a programme they were instrumental in the making of.
journalists are quite often put under unwarranted pressure not to mention faced with physical threats.
in those circumstances it is unacceptable for the leader of the most powerful nation in the world to apparently condone a physical attack on one.