Hawaii's Congressional delegation reacts to president's attack on media

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a speech to the American Conservative Union on Friday, President Donald Trump leveled a verbal assault on the media outlets he calls "dishonest."

"We are fighting the fake news. It's fake, phony, fake!" he said. "They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there."

Because of the president's address, the White House's usual Friday press briefing was canceled. A short time later, several major media outlets -- including CNN, the New York Times, Los Angles Times and Politico -- were shut out of a smaller briefing.

The move rankled observers from both parties, as well as most media watchdogs.

"It's a very troubling first step that we're seeing from this administration," said CNN senior political correspondent Brian Stelter.

Hawaii's Congressional delegation was quick to condemn the administration's actions.

"Simply because he doesn't like what you may be reporting or you may be saying is not the basis by which you stop it. It's censorship," said U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii.

In a written statement, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, called the president's tirade "a new low."

"In a free society, it is the duty of the press to hold the government and the most powerful to account. Every American should be outraged," he wrote.

U.S. Sen Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said: "Certainly, to try and muzzle the press is definitely not American."

Even former state Sen. Sam Slom, a staunch Trump supporter, wouldn't defend the administration's actions.

"It doesn't matter whether it's a Republican that does it or a Democrat. It's really beneath him. He doesn't have to do it," he said.

Journalists-in-training were similarly stunned by the statements.

University of Hawaii journalism student Annabelle Le Jeune believes it isn't a black and white issue.

"There needs to be kind of a balance between the media portraying both sides of the story, and then also the government needs to be maybe a little bit more transparent," she said.

The president says he's exposing the press.

"So I'm not against the media. I'm not against the press. I don't mind bad stories if I deserve them," he said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the White House's actions, saying the administration will "aggressively push back" against false stories.

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