- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2017

Tom Hanks said the Trump administration is engaging in an “insidious” attack campaign against the U.S. press in an effort to delegitimize it.

Mr. Hanks, who is starring in the upcoming film “The Post” about The Washington Post’s controversial decision in 1971 to report on the Pentagon Papers, told CNN’s David Axelrod over the weekend that the Trump administration is setting a dangerous precedent by slamming major news organizations such as CNN and The Post as “fake news.”

“As an American, it concerns me, because it’s monkeying around with our Constitution,” Mr. Hanks said.

“When you tear down these institutions to a level of, so you can’t believe anything that is in any of them,” he said, “that raises the stock of those agenda-filled other institutions and whatnot. So that if you can’t believe them, well, that means you get to believe some of the other stuff that is in these.”

“So what is happening is the dilution — they’re throwing dirt and oil into a bucket of water, so it all becomes undrinkable after a while,” he added.



Mr. Hanks said he doesn’t think the Trump administration is blatantly trying to shut down news organizations, but it is trying to persuade Americans into distrusting everything they put out.

“I think what the current administration is doing — I don’t know that they’re saying, ‘We have to shut them down so they don’t publish anymore.’ What is happening is something that is more subtle and more insidious and I think has more fingerprints from other total—,” he said, stopping himself from saying the word “totalitarian.”

“Other governments in the past who have said, ‘Look, we can’t shut them down because that will cause outrage, but we can denigrate them. We can call them names. We can tell people that those are not the facts.’ That’s what [Mr. Trump is] saying,” he said.

Reflecting on Mr. Trump’s first year in office, Mr. Hanks recalled a statement he made last spring about the improbability of the brash New York billionaire actually winning the election. At the time, Mr. Hanks joked that Mr. Trump would become president “when spaceships come down filled with dinosaurs in red capes.”

Speaking to Mr. Axelrod, Mr. Hanks said the reality of Mr. Trump’s presidency has been equally as “hellacious.”

“If I had said instead, if that happens we are going to — neo-Nazis are going to hold torchlight parades in Charlottesville and Pocahontas jokes will be said in front of the Navajo code talkers,” he said. “That would have been just as hellacious in imagination, I think, as what we have.”

Mr. Hanks, a longtime Democrat, was a recipient of former President Barack Obama’s 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom award.

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