A British journalist has said he was stopped at a US airport by a border agent who accused the writer of being part of the “fake news media”, a term regularly used by Donald Trump to attack media coverage he disapproves of.
James Dyer, online editor-in-chief at Empire Magazine, said he was questioned by the Customs and Border Protection agent after he displayed his journalist visa at Los Angeles International Airport border control.
“He wanted to know if I’d ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are ‘spreading lies to the American people’,” Mr Dyer tweeted of the incident on Thursday. “He aggressively told me that journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy.”
CNN and MSNBC are cable news channels which receive particular scorn from the president.
“Apparently the only truth now comes from YouTube and the president. All this said under a CBP sign that says ‘we are the face of our nation’. And with a framed picture of 45 staring down. In f***ing California!!! Welcome to Trump’s America!” Mr Dyer added.
California is considered a liberal outpost in the US, and is regularly attacked by Mr Trump, who stands little chance of winning the state in the 2020 election. “45” is shorthand for Mr Trump, who is America’s 45th president.
Mr Dyer said the agent let him go after he revealed he was in the US to write about an upcoming Star Wars movie.
Wow. Just... wow. Just went through LAX immigration. Presented my journalist visa and was stopped by the CBP agent and accused of being part of the ‘fake news media’.
— James Dyer (@jamescdyer)
Click on tweet for full thread
“The malignant affect this presidency has had on what was once a beacon of democracy and freedom is absolutely chilling,” Mr Dyer said, adding that he made no complaint because he was never detained or “mistreated”.
A CBP spokesperson told The Independent: "Unappropriated (sic) comments or behaviour are not tolerated, and do not reflect our values of vigilance, integrity and professionalism. We strongly advise travellers to file a formal complaint so alleged misconduct is properly investigated."
LAX airport has been contacted for comment.
The alleged incident comes amid an escalating campaign against many media outlets by Mr Trump, who earlier this week accused the “fake news lamestream media” of encouraging a recession and suggested falsely news organisations were lying about his negative poll ratings.
Critics have said Mr Trump’s relentless assaults on the press make physical attacks on journalists more likely. Earlier this month a supporter of Mr Trump's was jailed for sending fake pipe bombs to a number of his perceived enemies, including to the offices of CNN.