Jeffrey Herbst says president’s denigration of media helps erode public trust and sets dangerous example to authoritarian regimes around the world.
“My biggest fear in the United States is delegitimisation of journalists,” Herbst said. “This has been occurring over a long period of time: trust in the media has eroded in the United States for 20 years, partially because of complaints about the media, but frankly, trust in every institution in the United States has eroded over the last 20 years except for the military.
“But obviously in the  campaign and since then, due to the attacks by the president, while some people have rallied around journalists, I think it’s also caused this crisis of legitimisation to increase.
“So that’s my big worry, that we as a society are no longer going to be able to agree on even the facts because we don’t trust anyone who’s reporting them. If you agree on the same facts but disagree on where they lead you, that’s called regular political debate, but if you disagree on the facts themselves, that’s much worse. I think part of the political problems we see in the US is we’re no longer operating off of a common fact base and if journalists who produce those facts are delegitimated, it’s bad.”