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Donald Trump heads to North Carolina on Friday, while President Obama hits the trail for Hillary Clinton.

Journalist group declares Donald Trump a threat to press freedom

As Donald Trump amps up his hostility toward the press by whipping rally crowds into a frenzy of resentment against reporters and major news outlets, journalists are growing increasingly concerned about their safety and advocates are warning of the consequences.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says a Trump presidency would create an “unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ's ability to advocate for press freedom around the world.”

The organization cites numerous actions by Trump that have alarmed its board.  They range from denying campaign media credentials to outlets Trump does not like, to mocking a disabled New York Times reporter, to Trump's vows to make it easier to sue news organizations for libel.

“Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign,” said a statement from board chair Sandra Mims Rowe. “Trump has routinely labeled the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.”

Trump rallies, meanwhile, have become increasingly uncomfortable places for reporters. The crowd regularly chants “CNN sucks” and shouts insults at journalists contained in the press pen – sometimes with the encouragement of Trump, and sometimes on their own initiative.

As reporters left a Trump event on Thursday, the hostility had grown to the point where local law enforcement took the precaution of tasking police in riot gear to monitor the motorcade in which the press and campaign officials were riding as it left the event.

8:40 a.m.: This post was updated to clarify that the police had not escorted the reporters out of the event, but monitored the campaign motorcade. A tweet about the police role was removed. 

 

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