ABC's Jonathan Karl: The media 'unfortunately' played right into claims it was the 'opposition party' to Trump

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ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl took a swipe at the press for playing a role in the distrust Americans have towards the media. 

Speaking during a panel discussion with the Common Ground Committee, Karl was asked about the erosion of trust in the media and pointed out how there was a huge “drop off” among Republicans, which he said “wasn’t surprising” since Donald Trump “declared war” on the media before and during his presidency. 

ABC’S JONATHAN KARL: ‘A BIG CHUNK OF THE COUNTRY’ BELIEVES THE PRESS IS NOW ‘THE RESISTANCE’

“Donald Trump not only declared the press, the enemy of the people, he also I think, more insidiously, declared the press the opposition party,” Karl said on Sunday. “And, you know, if you have the person with the biggest megaphone day after day, day after day, calling what was flatly real news ‘fake news’ and eroding, you know, doing everything he can using his power to erode trust in the media and not surprisingly, you’re gonna see an impact among Republicans. But that’s not the entire story.” 

ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) 

ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) 
(Getty Images)

“I think that one of the reasons why I called the idea of the press as the opposition party even more insidious than declaring the press ‘enemies of the people’ is that it was encouraging people, Republicans, to view everything that comes out of a mainstream news organization as being no different from a press release out of the political party. ‘That’s my opposition party. What do you expect? Of course, they’re against me. It’s not true. They’re just out to get me.’ And unfortunately, I do think that over the course of the Trump era that the press often played right into that and, in fact, acted in a way as an opposition party further, you know, fueling this distrust.” 

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Karl continued, “So it’s not just, you know, Trump out there with this kind of monomaniacal attack, relentless attack on the press and attack on good journalism, but it created this sense that, you know, journalists needed to defend themselves, needed to push back against this, needed to push back against the president who was often not telling the truth and in doing so spoke to a lot of Republicans like we really are the opposition party.”

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. 

FILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

In 2020, Karl expressed a similar sentiment about the media by and large, discussing how the tense relationship White House reporters had with Trump had “negative consequences.”

“I do believe that unfortunately, there is a big chunk of the country that believes that the press is now the resistance and I think it’s really unfortunate, and I think that it has negative consequences for a free press. I think it has negative consequences for our democracy,” Karl told Mediaite. “But I think that the aggressive questioning of the president, particularly now in the wake of what we’ve seen unfold with the pandemic is absolutely necessary. Not only justified but necessary.”

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“I’m not part of the resistance,” Karl insisted. “I’m not his political opponent. I don’t want people to see me in there and think I’m just out to get him. But I also have something that is more important than all of those things. And that is that the reporter’s first loyalty must be to pursuing the truth. And part of pursuing the truth is using clarity of language.”

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