The National Press Club condemns President-elect Trump’s continual use of the phrase “fake news.”

At yesterday’s press conference, Trump refused to answer a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta, going so far as to accuse the reporter of working at a “terrible” organization and referring to CNN as “fake news.”

NPC president Thomas Burr issued this statement:

Thomas BurrThomas Burr

“With the proliferation of false news stories dotting the Internet, it is important for American leaders to discern the difference and not intentionally conflate misleading and fake stories from dogged and investigative news that is fundamental to our country.

“It is dangerous and unhealthy to declare a news item as 'fake news' to distract from facts that you may not like or don't favor your perspective. Our incoming president must treat the news media as the vital cornerstone of our democracy that it is. To label something as 'fake' in an effort to undermine news outlets endangers the trust granted journalists by the public and is antithetical to our country's values.

“To be sure, news organizations make honest mistakes and when they learn they've done so, they correct them. That is entirely different from websites that deliberately disseminate false information. The president-elect appears to be conflating the two in an attempt to discredit news organizations whose coverage displeases him. Doing so may foment a dangerous disrespect for journalists who, however flawed, are merely doing their best to inform the public. Presidents shouldn't get to pick and choose which reporters' questions they will answer based on what news outlet for which they work. Doing so now is inappropriate and will do unprecedented damage to our democracy.”