ABU DHABI: George W. Bush (US president from 2001-2009), while rejecting Trump’s denials said there was pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.
Giving a talk here on Thursday (8th of Feb) Bush added: “Whether they affected the outcome is another question…It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the intelligence agencies of USA, after due investigation, had confirmed that Russia did meddle in the said elections.
Though Trump had repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia, a number of investigations are being carried out to figure out whether Trump’s campaign aided Russia in its efforts.
Hundreds of US newspapers denounce Trump’s attacks on media
NEW YORK: Hundreds of US newspapers devoted space on Thursday to a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for saying some media organizations are enemies of the American people.
The Boston Globe and The New York Times took part in the push along with more than 350 other newspapers of all sizes including some in states that Trump won during the 2016 presidential election.
The Boston Globe, which led and coordinated the media campaign, wrote that “today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people’.”
“This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out ‘magic’ dust or water on a hopeful crowd,” its editorial, entitled “Journalists are not the Enemy,” said.
In July, President Trump blasted The New York Times and The Washington Post as “anti-Trump haters” who “do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements” they will never change.”
The terms “fake news” and “enemy of the people” have often been used by Trump in connection any critical news reports. The president even admitted in a tweet in May 2018 that he considered any negative news regarding his person or administration “fake news.”
In another tweet on Thursday, he denounced the “fake news” media as the “opposition party.”
The Globe also argued that Trump’s treatment of the press was encouraging the world’s authoritarian leaders to suppress free journalism.
“Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been the first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country,” the Globe wrote.
The New York Times, one of the newspapers most targeted by Trump, pointed out the dangers of blanket criticism of the press both to democracy and to journalists themselves.
“[I]nsisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the ‘enemy of the people’ is a dangerous period,” the Times wrote.
The outgoing UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper this month that Trump’s classing of journalists as enemies was “getting very close to incitement to violence.”
Here is a sampling of what the newspapers said:
The New York Times chose the headline A Free Press Needs You, calling Trump’s attacks as “dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy”. It published excerpts from dozens of more publications beneath
The New York Post – a pro-Trump tabloid – answered the Globe’s call by saying “Who are we to disagree?” adding: “It may be frustrating to argue that just because we print inconvenient truths doesn’t mean that we’re fake news, but being a journalist isn’t a popularity contest. All we can do is to keep reporting.” But it also said: “Will this make a difference? Not one whit”
The Philadelphia Inquirer said its city was the birthplace of US democracy, writing: “If the press is not free from reprisal, punishment or suspicion for unpopular views or information, neither is the country, neither are its people.”
Opinion writers at McClatchy put out an editorial for the 30 daily newspapers it runs, including the Miami Herald, saying they hardly ever spoke with one voice but were doing so now. It said, “It’s how Joseph Stalin’s critics were marked for execution.”
Another paper to join the campaign was the Topeka Capital-Journal which said of Trump’s attack on the media: “It’s sinister. It’s destructive. And it must end now.” The paper was one of the few to endorse Trump in 2016.
Trump’s supporters said the fact that he won without such media endorsements may cast doubt on whether the Globe’s campaign would actually dent his support.
There have been some dissenting voices to the Globe’s campaign. Tom Tradup at the conservative website Townhall.com panned the Globe’s “pathetic bid to pretend it is still relevant”, writing: “I would not presume to tell anyone else what to think or what to do. But as for me – and I suspect many others – I won’t be putting any coins in any newspaper box August 16th.”
The Wall Street Journal declined to take part. An earlier piece by James Freeman argued Trump was entitled to free speech and the Globe’s drive ran counter to the very independence it was seeking.
Walmart reports Q2 loss, but higher sales; shares rise
NEW YORK: Walmart reported much higher second-quarter sales and robust growth in its e-commerce businesses today, even as it reported a loss on one-time costs associated with selling a Walmart Brazil stake.
The world’s biggest retailer scored its most robust jump in more than 10 years in US comparable store sales, sending shares sharply higher. But it reported an $861 million loss following pre-tax costs of $4.8 billion on the Brazil sales
White House says Turkish sanctions ‘regrettable’
WASHINGTON: The White House said Wednesday that Turkey’s tariff hikes on US products in retaliation for US sanctions on Ankara were “regrettable” and again called for the immediate release of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
“The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interests. Theirs are out of retaliation,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
She lamented that Turkey had treated Brunson, “who we know to be a very good person and a strong Christian who has done nothing wrong, very unfairly, very badly.”