Drudge Turns on Trump Over Fears His Threats Could Lead to 'Licensing of All Reporters'

Conservative news tycoon Matt Drudge, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump, hit out at the president Wednesday following a tweet in which he suggested that journalists' credentials could be revoked. Drudge, who runs the influential right-wing news site The Drudge Report, tweeted that he feared Trump's attacks on the media could lead to a licensing of reporters.

"I fear the future result of Trump's crusade on 'fake news' will be licensing of all reporters," he wrote. "[Dems already floated this in the senate pre-Trump.] The mop up on this issue is going to be excruciating…"

Drudge's tweet came shortly after Trump's latest attack on the media. Trump referenced a study from the conservative Media Research Center that found that 91 percent of all "evaluative" statements made about Trump on the three main nightly newscasts—ABC, CBS and NBC—between June and August of last year were negative. He also appeared to clarify for the first time that when he refers to "fake news," he is referring to news that is negative about him or his administration.

"The Fake News is working overtime," Trump tweeted. "Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?"

A stricter licensing system of White House reporters under Trump would presumably be good for Drudge, who has gained close access under the current president. But Drudge, who has at times being critical of Trump, conveyed a more widespread worry about the long-term impact of giving the White House control over reporters' credentials.

In 2013, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein suggested that legislation being discussed to protect journalists should only be applied to those who drew a salary from their job, or as she put it "real journalists."

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President Donald Trump and Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari shake hands as they hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, April 30, 2018. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Drudge Turns on Trump Over Fears His Threats Could Lead to 'Licensing of All Reporters' | U.S.