The veteran journalist says, 'We have to do our jobs.'

By Nick Romano
January 28, 2017 at 01:41 PM EST
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 4
Credit: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

During an appearance on The Tonight Show Friday night, veteran journalist Tom Brokaw evaluated President Donald Trump and his attacks on journalists’ integrity.

“From a press point of view, it’s fascinating. They’ve declared war on us,” he told Jimmy Fallon of the White House. “They made it clear the media, they think, is the opposition party. I think that’s not just a tactic, I think it’s a strategy. It’s how they keep their supporters in line ’cause they’re angry with us, they think we have betrayed what it is we should be doing. We have to stay cool. We have to do our jobs, not get in some kind of ideological war.”

Trump hasn’t hidden his distaste for the majority of mainstream media, which he has slammed numerous times.

During an interview with The Brody File after winning the presidency, for example, he dubbed media “the opposition party.” His advisor Stephen Bannon, a former media executive himself of Breitbart News, told The New York Times the media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” Sean Spicer similarly lectured reporters during his first press briefing as White House Press Secretary, according to CNN.

Brokaw continued, “When [Trump] says on Thursday that the C.I.A., releasing the statements that they did, were like Nazis and then on Saturday says, when he goes to the C.I.A., ‘No one loves the C.I.A. more than I do,’ well, it’s our obligation to say, ‘Thursday he said this, Saturday he said that.'”

Brokaw also called the rise of fake news “very troubling.”

“I think the big game-changer in our business — and in America, altogether — is social media,” he said. “Stuff comes over the screen and we don’t know where it comes from.” The NBC News anchor advised consumers “to look at something and apply the same test to it that you would to a flat screen television. ‘Am I gonna buy that one or this one or that one?’ And see which one you can trust after a while.”

“There’s a lot of effort going on now, coming in from god knows where, to try to in effect really become a saboteur of the truth,” he added, “and that’s troubling in a free society.”

Watch a clip from Brokaw’s appearance below in which he also discusses Trump’s proposed tax on Mexican imports and his upcoming special, Tom Brokaw at NBC News: The First 50 Years.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

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