Trump claims third of Americans see media as ‘enemy of the people’, without providing any evidence

Donald Trump has claimed that a third of Americans see the media as “the enemy of the people”.

He provided no evidence for the figure, cited during a campaign rally in Florida ahead of next week’s midterm elections.

The president had opened the rally by telling supporters coverage of a protest over his visit to Pittsburgh the previous day had been “fake and make-believe”.

Thousands of people demonstrated in the Pennsylvania city as Mr Trump offered condolences at the Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 Jewish worshippers were shot dead on Saturday. The protesters chanted “words matter”, accusing Mr Trump of emboldened extremists.

The president told the Florida rally on Wednesday: “After this day of unity and togetherness, I came home and, sadly, turned on the news and watched as the far-left media once again used tragedy to sow anger and division.

“Sadly, they took a small group of protesters far away from where we were. We could not have been treated better, the first lady and myself.”

Mr Trump claimed he had “forcefully condemned hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice in all of its ugly forms”.

“But the media doesn’t want you to hear your story,” he added. “It’s not my story, it’s your story.

“And that’s why 33 per cent of the people in this country believe the fake news is in fact – and I hate to say this – in fact the enemy of the people.”

His comments were met with cheers from supporters at the rally in Estero.

It is unclear what research Mr Trump was referring to.

However, an Ipsos poll in August found that 29 per cent of US adults agreed with the statement “the news media is the enemy of the American people”. 

The president has repeatedly returned to the phrase since launching his bid to president, claiming journalists are biased against him.

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His anti-media rhetoric has come under increased scrutiny since explosive packages were sent to CNN, a regular target of his verbal attacks, last week.

Cesar Sayoc, a supporter of Mr Trump, was arrested on suspicion of mailing 14 bombs to the broadcaster and other critics of the president, including Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.

Mr Trump blamed the media for the attempted attacks, tweeting: “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.”

Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, has said there is “a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media”.

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