Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had an awkward exchange with President Donald Trump during a photo-op at this year’s G-20 gathering of global leaders in Germany. When the Russian leader asked Trump if the journalists in the room were the ones giving him a headache, Trump replied:
These are the ones. You’re right about that.
The exchange raised some eyebrows as it sounded like a father was asking his 6-year-old son if those were the bullies harassing him.
Putin of Journos: Are these the ones hurting you?
Trump: These are the ones
P: DON’T TALK TO ME OR MY SON EVER AGAINpic.twitter.com/RcGywh6H8g
— Karen DaltonBeninato (@kbeninato) July 7, 2017
Putin Subtly Silencing the Press
It is worth noting that the discussion is only natural as both Putin and Trump abhor a free press. While Trump is more direct in his attacks on the country’s mainstream media with his toddler-like tantrums, Putin is more practical and simply silences his opponents, KGB style.
For instance, a decade ago, reporter Anna Politkovskaya was killed execution-style after writing a damning report on Putin and the corruption in his administration. In 2009, another reporter Natalya Estemirova was shot dead at point blank range for reporting on killings in the Russian-controlled Chechnya.
The Council on Foreign Relations concluded that Trump’s hostile attitude towards the press and the latest in-person Putin-Trump discussion could only fuel abuse of journalists.
Trump Openly Slams the Media
It is not the first time; Trump criticized the media during his second official trip to Europe. Last week, he slammed CNN and NBC News over treating him very unfairly, during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
One expert noted that Trump’s criticism of the media overseas “dilutes respect for American democracy” and encourages dictators to suppress their media.
Trump mocked journalists with disabilities during the presidential campaign, blasted the mainstream media for spreading “fake news,” disparaged reporters on the air, and tweeted a video of him wrestling down a man representing CNN. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press warned that such behavior could only further “demonize” journalists.