President Donald Trump used much of his campaign rally speech in Phoenix Tuesday night (Aug. 22) defending his statements about Charlottesville, chapter and verse, and attacking the news media with abandon, joined by a crowd that booed when the President called out the media as "damned dishonest."
Trump called the New York Times failing, the Washington Post a lobbying tool for Amazon (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the paper), and Slammed CNN, after which the crowd seemed to be chanting "CNN sucks."
He made fun of ABC's George Stephanopoulos size, calling him "Little George" as he continued to say the media didn't report accurately on his statements, reading them all and commenting as he did on how the media did not report honestly on his statements.
In an aside, he said that CNN was doing "relatively poorly" in the ratings because they put on lots of anti-Trump talking heads and had fired Jeffrey Lord.
The President's point, hammered home again and again, was that his statements, which were almost universally criticized, had been fine, but it was the media misreporting that had created the controversy.
The President said his words were perfect. He also said the media could attack him, but where he drew the line was where they attacked the decency of his supporters. "It is time to expose the crooked media" for "fomenting divisions," and "trying to take away our heritage."
He said for the most part, journalists are "really, really dishonest and bad people who don't like our country."
He said the only people giving a platform to the hate groups was the 'fake news and crooked media" itself. He said if he did not have social media he could not “get the word out.”
He also said the media turned a blind eye to violence, hostility to police and bad trade deals.
Trump did give a shout out to Fox for treating him fairly, calling Fox and Friends the most honest show.
“President Trump again chose to fan the flames of hate and division," said Vanita Gupta, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, of the speech. "His lack of moral credibility was on full display in Phoenix and his failing, pathetic attempts to revise history were another abdication of leadership. When it comes to civil and human rights, we must all stand together against those seeking to divide us.”