Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein: Trump’s attacks on the press are more dangerous than Nixon’s

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and lawmakers of both political parties weigh in on President Trump’s Feb. 17 tweet calling several news outlets “the enemy of the American People.” (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

The correspondent who uncovered a notoriously jumpy, manipulative and ruinous president said Sunday that Richard Nixon had nothing on Donald Trump.

“Trump’s assaults on the American press as ‘foes of the American individuals’ are more deceptive than Richard Nixon’s assaults on the press,” previous Washington Post columnist Carl Bernstein said Sunday on CNN.

Trump’s remarks — made freely, though Nixon assaulted his adversaries in private — inferred “despots and tyrants, including Stalin, including Hitler,” Bernstein said.

He quickly strolled back a correlation with the Nazi pioneer, while multiplying down on the correlation with Nixon.

Bernstein — whose revealing of the Watergate soften up and cover up realized Nixon’s acquiescence — said Trump’s talk is possibly more unsafe than Nixon’s assaults on the news media.

“There is no city agreement in this nation like there was at the season of Watergate about adequate presidential direct,” Bernstein said on “Dependable Sources.”

“Trump is out there all alone, driving a demagogic assault on the establishments of free majority rules system,” he said. “We are into horrendous tyrant inclinations.”

Bernstein’s words resounded other people who stood up Sunday after Trump raised his months-long war on correspondents with a solitary tweet.

It’s “how dictators get started,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the same day on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Before the election, the University of Maryland’s chair of broadcast journalism discerned “Nixon’s echo — and, perhaps, Nixon’s revenge” in Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail.

“He, too, obsessively sought to manipulate the news coverage he desperately craved and wasn’t afraid to use intimidation if he thought it would help,” Mark Feldstein wrote in The Post.

Nixon’s attacks on the press struck a chord with voters, helping carry him to power and encouraging more of the same, Feldstein wrote. “Nixon’s conduct in office presents a chilling example of what President Trump could do.”

 

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