November 15, 2016
On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump had harsh words for the media in general and some individual journalists in particular, using words like “scum,” and “sleaze” to describe them. On several occasions, he said he intended to open up libel laws so he could sue journalists and outlets, and indeed he threatened lawsuits when critical stories were published.
Many of these speeches were broadcast at the time and are now available on the TV News Archive, searchable by closed captions–as are statements he made on a whole host of topics. We are hoping journalists and researchers will use this rich resource as they report on Trump. If there’s a question about what Trump has said about a particular topic, when, and where, we may just have the video clip.
The video below was made with a tool called “Popcorn,” which makes it easy to pull clips from the TV News Archive, edit them into a single video, and then share them on social media. It is also possible for anyone to edit the overall compilation, adding to it or remixing the order of clips. This video sequence is hardly an exhaustive reel of all the comments Trump has made about the press, but it does give the flavor. Transcripts of the shows cited are below, along with the individual links, where the clips can be seen in context.
“I’m going to open up our libel laws, so when they write purposefully negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them, and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws, so that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’er totally protected. You see, with me they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws folks and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.”
Host: “As you mentioned, when you were out on the campaign trail, you mentioned the libel laws, and that when you’re president, you would like to see a greater ability to sue publications who write things about individuals, like The New York Times or others if they write what you would call hit pieces…”
Donald Trump: ‘Right.”
Host: “…critics would say, well that’s an affront to the free press in the United States, what do you say to that.”
Donald Trump: “Right. No, no the press has to be fair. I love free press, I think it’s great.”
“Look, I’m going to continue to attack the press. Look, I find the press to be extremely dishonest. I find the political press to be unbelievably dishonest. I will say that.”
“Look, some of the media is terrific. But most of it, 70 percent, 75 percent, is absolute dishonest, absolute scum. remember that. Scum. Scum. They’re totally dishonest people.”
“And then they said, you know, he’s killed reporters. And I don’t like that, I’m totally against that. By the way I hate some of these people but I would never kill them. No, these people, honestly I’ll be honest, I would never kill them. I would never do that. Ahh, let’s see. No. I wouldn’t. I would never kill them, but I do hate them.”