*Editor’s Note:

Feb. 19, 2017 David Jackson USA Today

"If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free -- and many times adversarial — press," said Sen. John Mc- Cain, R-Ariz., speaking on NBC's Meet The Press. "And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time — that's how dictators get started."

Citing history, McCain told NBC that "the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press," though he hastened to add: "I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history."

McCain responded to the echoes of this Trump weekend tweet: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @ NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @ CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"

Political analysts said there's a difference between criticizing the press and calling it "the enemy" -- a phrase authoritarian governments of the past have indeed used to de-legitimize political opponents and institutions.

Feb. 26, 2017 Andrew Higgins The New York Times

...By using the phrase [“enemy of the people”] and placing himself in such infamous company, at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, Ms. Nina Khrushcheva, [the great-grandaughter of Nikita Khrushchev and a professor of international affairs at the New School in New York] said, that the language of “autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, no nation is exempt.” She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the “formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding,enemy-forming and name calling are the same.”

The White House did not respond to a request for a comment.

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