U.S.

Dan Rather Slams Donald Trump: American Public Feels Like 'They're Facing a Manure Spreader in a Windstorm'

Long-time journalist and broadcaster Dan Rather said President Donald Trump’s media output—and especially his Twitter activity—had left Americans overwhelmed and unable to engage in national politics.

Rather was taking part in a discussion about online extremism—and specifically white supremacism, nationalism and neo-Nazism—in the aftermath of the anti-Muslim terror attack that killed at least 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week.

Speaking with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Rather, 87, said the president’s media clout was the most significant in human history, and that he and his team must therefore act properly if they were to help curtail online extremism.

As reported by Real Clear Politics, Stelter asked how the White House could "effectively respond to this rising threat of extremism on the internet” if they did not know how the online world worked.

“The answer is, not very well," Rather responded. "Look, we have to deal with reality. This is a whole new age. And the president has the strongest, the most powerful platform for propaganda that humans have ever had. No president has ever had this kind of reach—the combination of television, radio, the internet, social media, tweets.”

Though Trump may be au fait with Twitter, his grasp of other technologies appears limited. For example, he was criticized last week for his seemingly Luddite approach to aviation technology, and this weekend Axios reported he was inherently opposed to self-driving vehicles. The president's climate change denial was another major indicator of his reputed anti-science instincts.

“With all respect, I don't think his age, 72, is an excuse for not keeping up. He's basically anti-science,” Rather continued. “When you talk about what he says about climate change, that's in a wider context of this administration led by the president who is downgrading science at the very time we need to be leaping forward, keeping up with science. They're cutting research and that sort of thing.”

The legendary broadcaster said he thought Americans were struggling to cope with a president whose constant and inflammatory social media output had totally changed the way the White House interacts with the the country.

“Much of the time, I sense the public has a sense that they're facing a manure spreader in a windstorm,” Rather said. “It just keeps coming and coming and coming at you. It's ridiculous, but it's unrelenting. And he understands the value of that.”

Rather also advised Americans to take a step away from constant engagement and use critical thinking skills when faced with Trump’s output. “For the rest of us, and for the public at large, it's time to take a deep breath, say to yourself, ‘Stay steady.’ Keep in mind that this is a tremendous tool for propaganda. See it in that context and do the best we can.”

Donald Trump twitter extremism social media Dan Rather President Donald Trump is pictured during an event on border security in the Oval Office of the White House on March 15. Long-time journalist and broadcaster Dan Rather said President Donald Trump’s media output—especially his Twitter activity—had left Americans overwhelmed and unable to engage in national politics. Alex Wong/Getty Images

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