Pen America seeks to defend free speech rights.
President Donald Trump has coined the phrase "fake news," which is sometimes used lightly by some but proves to be part of a serious situation. Trump's consistent undermining of journalistic integrity paired with his threats towards certain organizations has earned the nation's leader the position of defendant in a lawsuit.
PEN America, a nonprofit organization that defends free expression, filed the suit citing his violation of First Amendment rights.
"He has threatened to engage, and has engaged, in conduct intended to retaliate against specific news organizations and journalists whose content and viewpoints displease him. Through his actions, Defendant Trump has intentionally conveyed to all writers and journalists that if he objects to their coverage, they may be subject to retaliation by the federal government."
The legal documents specify one instance in which Trump's attacks on CNN influenced the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, the channel's parent company.
"While that lawsuit did not succeed in the District Court, the litigation cost CNN’s parent significant resources, including money, time, and opportunity costs. Those litigation costs continue as the President’s Administration pursues an appeal."
It also mentions threats of stripping White House reporters from their press credentials is their "coverage displeases him and has threatened to challenge NBC’s and other television stations’ broadcast licenses in retaliation for coverage he disliked."
According to PEN America, the president "has made eminently clear his disdain for the press and the legal protections the First Amendment affords it. He has frequently referred to journalists covering his rallies as 'disgusting' and has stated, more generally, that it is 'frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write' and that 'people should look into that.'"