Since President Donald Trump took office, there has been a marked shift in the rhetoric surrounding news coverage and journalists. The term "fake news" is thrown around whenever a network or newspaper reports something that doesn't reflect positively on the POTUS and his administration. A CNN reporter was banned from the White House for simply doing his job. And if the POTUS decides to completely change his stance on an issue, he simply resorts to gaslighting — even when there is video evidence of him saying the exact opposite. It's both deeply disturbing and mind-boggling. However, Amal Clooney called out Trump's attacks on the press with a crucial, powerful message.
On Wednesday, July 10, human rights attorney Amal Clooney took aim at President Donald Trump at the Global Conference for Media Freedom held in London. (She also happens to be the British government's envoy on media freedom, according to ABC News.) And although she didn't name Trump specifically, her comments made her target pretty darn obvious.
"Today, the country of James Madison has a leader who vilifies the media, making honest journalists all over the world more vulnerable to abuse," Clooney said of the fourth U.S. president, who famously championed the essential function of a free press. "As James Madison — one of America's founding fathers — warned us more than 200 years ago, the right to a free press is the only effectual guardian of every other right. Yet today journalists are under attack like never before."
According to People, she continued:
With authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism gaining ground, the relevance of international institutions and respect for intentional norms are seriously in question.
People reported that Clooney also addressed the death of Jamal Khashoggi — a Washington Post columnist who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Instanbul. She pointed out that “world leaders responded with little more than than a collective shrug."
It's worth noting that Wednesday wasn't the first time Clooney has highlighted Trump's disdain for the media. In December, she spoke about freedom of the press at the United Nations Correspondents Association Awards in New York. There, it only made sense for Clooney to address the elephant in the room. “The U.S. President has given such [autocratic] regimes a green light and labeled the press in this country the ‘enemy of the people,'” she said, according to USA Today.
Aside from the fact that she's merely making valid observations, it's not surprising that Clooney isn't particularly aligned with Trump's ideals. She and her husband, actor George Clooney, are longtime friends of the Obamas, after all. They were photographed in June hanging out with former president Barack Obama and former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, Us Weekly reported. Reportedly, the Clooneys and Obamas were on their way to a charity dinner for The Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Amal Clooney's remarks about Donald Trump aren't exactly ground-breaking — in substance, or coming from her — but they're still important. As often as Trump discredits entire networks and publications, Americans shouldn't become de-sensitized to open attacks by the POTUS on the free press. Because none of this is normal. And it's already having real and lasting consequences.