At the annual Transparency International UK lecture in London, former British prime minister David Cameron called President Donald Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media was dangerous, with the true threat to democracy coming from sources like Russian twitter bots.
“When Donald Trump uses the term ‘fake news’ to describe CNN and the BBC, that is not just a questionable tactic. It’s actually dangerous,” the former prime minister said in his remarks.
Cameron noted that “of course” journalists occasionally makes mistakes. But Trump’s use of “fake news” as an attack on the media “is an attempt to question the whole legitimacy of organizations that have an important role in our democracy.”
“Let me put it like this. President Trump, ‘Fake news’ is not broadcasters criticizing you. It’s Russian bots and trolls targeting your democracy, pumping out untrue stories day after day, night after night.”
“When you misappropriate the term ‘fake news’,” he continued, “you are deflecting attention from real abuses. Ignoring what’s happening on social media is facilitating a form of corruption that is undermining democracy.”
Cameron resigned as prime minister in 2016, immediately after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in their “Brexit” vote, which Cameron opposed. Many point to the similarities between the surge in nationalistic movements surrounding the Brexit vote and the 2016 U.S. presidential elections that placed Trump in the White House.