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Amid press battles, Trump floats idea of White House news network

President Donald J. Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House after disembarking Marine One Tuesday, July 30, 2019, following his trip to Williamsburg, Va. (Courtesy Photo by Caleb Spencer)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that the White House should start its own news network to counter what he says is mainstream media’s “hate” for the United States.

“CNN is a voice that really seems to be a voice out there, and it’s a terrible thing for our country. And we ought to start our own network and put some real news out there,” Trump said in an October 3 speech in Florida.

“We are looking at that…. We should do something about it, too. Put some really talented people and get a real voice out there. Not a voice that’s fake,” he added.

Trump has been scathing in his criticism of CNN and other mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times amid a scandal over a phone call he had with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25.

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During the call, Trump appears to press Zelenskiy for an investigation of his political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

The call has become the focal point of an impeachment inquiry by U.S. lawmakers.

Trump also made reference to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA), two U.S. government funded broadcasters.

“We used to have Radio Free — I think Radio Free Europe and Voice of America… And we did that to build up our country and that’s not working out too well,” Trump said.

Jamie Fly, president of RFE/RL, noted that contrary to Trump’s assessment, the broadcaster, founded in 1950, continues to deliver “objective journalism” on a daily basis to those “who otherwise lack trusted sources of news and information.”

“We believe that our efforts to counter disinformation — across digital platforms and on radio and TV — and to develop a well-informed citizenry are more essential than ever in an age when truth is increasingly under attack,” he said.

VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman was quick to point out on Twitter that his operation was still operating as well, noting in a tweet that Trump “should be well aware” of the fact since he has given VOA two on-camera interviews since becoming president in January 2017.

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VOA is the largest U.S. international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 275 million people.