Donald Trump’s latest slap at the media was apparently too much for CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield and Dylan Byers to take. While reporting Trump’s ribbing the two insisted that undermining the media is both turning the U.S. into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and somehow destroying democracy.
Banfield played a clip of Trump’s September 14 rally in New Hampshire where the GOP nominee joked that the press was stuck on a plane. From the dais Trump told the crowd, “I have really good news for you, I just heard that the press is stuck on their airplane, they can’t get here. I love it.”
Trump then informed his audience the press wanted him to delay the start of the rally so they had time to get to the venue. Naturally he refused to put off the rally just to satisfy the press.
This was all just too much to take for CNN host Ashleigh Banfield.
Sporting a look of concern, Banfield gazed into the camera and asked plaintively, “Why so much cheering?” She then said of the excited Trump supporters heard on the video clip, “Do people not realize, or are they forgetting the other critical element of it, either you have a media, or you have what I witnessed in Saddam’s era, and the Libyan’s era, where you never got to actually call yourself press or you’d go to jail for it.”
Banfield essential insisted that if you criticize a biased press you are necessarily imposing a Saddam-like tyranny on America.
Not to be outdone, CNN media reporter Dylan Byers brought up the recent Gallup pollthat found more Americans than ever distrust the press. Byers insisted that the drop in trust is “largely fueled by Republicans” and their mistrust of the media as well as Donald Trump’s constant attacks on the press.
Byers claimed that all these attacks on the media are a “serious problem.”
“Because it is the role of the media to hold these candidates accountable, to hold both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates accountable,” Byers said. “When you lose that, when you start celebrating restriction of the media, when you start mocking the media, that becomes a serious problem for the very foundation of the democratic project and the American political system.”
Banfield then related an anecdote of her visit to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that entailed her car driver telling her not to look directly at Saddam’s palace or they would “get in trouble.” This anecdote, she insisted, is ” the other side of this.”