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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Trump defends his use of social media - in tweets, naturally.

Politicians have begged the president to stop conducting his latest spat on Twitter - but to no avail.

BRIDGEWATER, NEW JERSEY // President Donald Trump has ramped up an intensely personal feud with two high-profile talk show hosts by suggesting without evidence that their network is biased against him.

The president's stream of insults has driven politicians from both parties to appeal to him to stop the 140-character bursts of character attacks and to concentrate on running the country instead. But their plea has fallen on deaf ears.

"The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media - but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN!" he wrote - on Twitter, naturally..

He also carried on his feud with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," from his New Jersey golf club, tweeting, "Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses."

When MSNBC confirmed that another TV presenter, Greta Van Susteren, was being replaced as host of a nightly show, Mr Trump said it was because she "refused to go along w/ 'Trump hate!'"

NBC declined to comment on all the latest tweets from the president. "Morning Joe" just finished the highest-rated quarter in the show's history.

Mr Trump also vented his fury against CNN, which he said had "finally been exposed as #FakeNews and garbage journalism." .

Mr Trump has drawn broad condemnation for calling Ms Brzezinski "crazy" and saying she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" when he saw her and Mr Scarborough at his Florida estate in December. Many Republicans and Democrats decried the remarks as sexist and vulgar.

The MSNBC personalities say Mr Trump was lying about their December encounter and questioned his "unhealthy obsession" with their programme. They also said the White House told them a damaging newspaper story about them would "go away" if they called the president and apologised for harsh commentary. Mr Trump quickly disputed the claim on Twitter.

MrTrump's continued focus on cable television comes as Republicans are struggling to find agreement on a health care overhaul, a key promise from the president and legislators from his party. And the president is heading to the annual Group of 20 meeting this week, where he will have his first face-to-face meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, a high-stakes encounter that could put Trump's "America First" policy to the test.

Social media and employment law experts say that if Donald Trump were anyone other than president, he would be fired, or at least reprimanded, for the tweets regarding Ms Brzezinski.

And if he were to look for a job, his Twitter history would raise concern in companies doing social media background checks, an increasingly common practice as tweets and Facebook posts become a daily, sometimes hourly part of our lives.

"Mr Trump would be fired for his tweets of today, and nearly every day," said Mike Driehorst, a social media expert at the marketing agency Weaving Influence. "Most companies have a thin skin when it comes to public criticism and media reports."

Nannina Angioni, an employment lawyer in Los Angeles-based said certain speech is protected, such as posts about a workplace grievance or organizing a union. But she said that if "you take to Twitter to call your boss a 'psycho' or say that your CEO has a 'low I.Q.' that could absolutely get you fired.

That applies even to chief executives.

"Any good outside crisis adviser would tell the company's board that they have no choice but to terminate the CEO," said Kara Alaimo, a public relations professor at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. "Today, more than ever before, citizens expect companies to espouse and uphold values."

Even before the latest row, there have been calls for Twitter to ban Mr Trump from the service. The company's policies prohibit harassment, inciting harassment and "hateful conduct."

But what constitutes such behaviour is open to interpretation. While Twitter doesn't comment on individual accounts, CEO Jack Dorsey told NBC that it's "really important to hear directly from leadership"

Associated Press