New York, NY, Aug. 5, 2019 – This morning, in response to two deadly mass shootings, President Trump claimed “fake news” had contributed to “the anger and rage that has built up over many years.” In response, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement.

Sadly, this is a case where the metaphor ‘kill the messenger’ is an understatement. President Trump’s refusal to own up to his role in fanning racist and xenophobic violence is nothing short of deadly. The news media is simply doing its job reporting on these mass murders, as well as on the words and actions of President Trump and his supporters. By blaming the press, the president is trying desperately to play down his own culpability in legitimizing hatred. But the connection between his vitriol and white nationalistic racism is too obvious to be obscured. The key for the public and our political leaders is to see straight and not to be confused by Trump’s baseless, self-serving justifications.”

Last year, PEN America sued President Trump for attempting to use the powers of the federal government to retaliate against members of the press. Read more about what news outlets are doing to maintain transparency with the public with our Newsroom Transparency Tracker. And click here to see more about our work around false information and fraudulent news.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.