The United States is dropping on an international ranking of freedom of the press, with Reporters Without Borders citing threats to journalists as a key problem. The U.S. fell three spots to number 48 out of 180, a move that took the nation from “satisfactory” to “problematic” and which the organization pinned on an “increasingly hostile climate that goes beyond Donald Trump’s comments.”
“Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection,” according to the report, which pointed to the mass shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. The Press Freedom Tracker lists 10 journalists physically attacked in 2019, five killed in 2018, and 46 physically attacked in 2017.
While Reporters Without Borders points to that “increasingly hostile climate that goes beyond Donald Trump’s comments,” they made clear that Trump is a significant factor. “The president’s relentless attacks against the press [have] created an environment where verbal, physical and online threats and assault against journalists are becoming normalized,” the organization’s interim executive director told NPR.