CNN's Amanpour: Trump's Use Of "Fake News" Label Undermines Credibility Of Democracy, Our World Order

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CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Christian Amanpour discuss reports that leaders of Syria, Myanmar Russia, and other authoritarian states have all used the term "fake news" to dismiss credible reports they disagree with. Ryan Crocker, who has served as ambassador to several middle eastern countries joins the conversation.

Amanpour said that Trump's use of the term has given dictators around the world license to paralyze the press and if it goes on, it will put democracy and the entire world order at risk.

"This is really serious, and it just has to stop. Because it is undermining not just our safety, but the credibility of democracy and the fight against corruption, and the legitimacy of our order, our world order," she said in response to a clip of WH press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders arguing against 'fake news.'

AMANPOUR: This is really a moment that needs to be crystallized and run with because what she is saying is there are things she doesn't like about us. Therefore, we say fake news.





You know, I know, everybody knows that when legitimate news organizations make mistakes, like ours, like the New York Times, whatever it may be, we correct it. We take accountability measures, and we do not let false or mistakes stand.

So it is unfair and incorrect to accuse legitimate news organizations of deliberately peddling fake news.

This is really serious, and it just has to stop. Because it is undermining not just our safety, but the credibility of democracy and the fight against corruption, and the legitimacy of our order, our world order.



Amanpour also makes the point that Trump's office gives his use of the term inevitable legitimacy in the eyes of other countries.

"First of all it gives them a carte blanche," the CNN International host said, referring to leaders of other countries, particularly dictators. "But even worse, they figure that if it comes from the president of the United States, at least he must know what he's talking about. There must be a grain of truth. It is not like they think he is giving them cover, they think maybe he is actually speaking the truth against us. And that is what is very, very dangerous."

ANDERSON COOPER: We're in this extraordinary situation where dictators now can dismiss a free press as 'fake news' and are basically given permission to do so by the leader of the free world?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: From my vantage point here, overseas, and I have been following this and tracking this ever since the word 'fake news' came out of the president's mouth before he was even inaugurated. We have seen an exponential increase in the harassment, imprisonment, assault of journalists all over the world. You just have to look at the statistics of the Committee to Protect Journalists and others who track journalist safety.

It really is a problem. Whether it is in Russia with Vladimir Putin, in Turkey with President Erdogan, or in the Phillippines with President Duterte. And many other countries.

Of course, when they see the President of the United States-- First of all it gives them a carte blanche. But even worse, they figure that if it comes from the president of the United States, at least he must know what he's talking about. There must be a grain of truth. It is not like they think he is giving them cover, they think maybe he is actually speaking the truth against us. And that is what is very, very dangerous.

ANDERSON COOPER: Ambassador Crocker, Russia, Syria, China, Myanmar, Turkey, Phillippines, Libya to name just a few, are all countries whose leaders have recently invoked 'fake news' to dismiss legitimate news stories. You've certainly dealt with repressive regimes.

RYAN CROCKER: Exactly Anderson, it is as Christian says. This is just their golden opportunity, that if the president of the United States says it, they can say it too.

The climate has gotten a lot dicier out there around the world, because of 'fake news.' It has also gotten dicey with the media as the enemy of the American people. A lot of other autocrats out there are too happy to pick that up, and substitute the nationality of choice for the American people. What happens in Washington doesn't stay in Washington.

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