Getty Images / Win McNamee

Donald Trump has "crossed the line", according to Fox News - his most important media ally.

After a raging and bizarrely incoherent press conference, in which Trump accused reporters of misinformation, mistakes and FAKE NEWS, Trump predictably took to Twitter for a rant.

But his latest tweet reaches a whole new level of terrifying.

That's the leader of the 'Free World' accusing the media, the most indisputable cornerstone of any democratic society, of being the "enemy of the American people".

(The first edit of the tweet actually included the word "SICK!" at the end.)

Notice how media Goliath and television channel Fox News is notably absent from that list.

That's because the POTUS seems to get a huge amount of information from the channel and has done for a number of years.

So, here's a sentence you'd never thought you'd hear.

Even Fox News thinks Trump went too far.

'Fox News Sunday' anchor Chris Wallace, appearing as a guest on the 'Fox and Friends', was asked whether Trump's ongoing feud was truly dangerous.

He responded with a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson:

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Wallace went on to explain that while it is normal for presidents to clash with the press,Trump had "crossed a line" describing them as the enemy.

"Look, we're big boys. We criticise presidents. They want to criticise us back, that's fine. But when he said that the fake news media is not my enemy, it's the enemy of the American people, I believe that crosses an important line."

Yes, presidents have always had, and politicians have always had, problems with the press. They want good press. The press doesn't always give it to them.

But what Jefferson was saying there is, dispute all of our disputes, that to the functioning of a free and fair democracy, you must have an independent press.

Host Pete Hesgeth later questioned whether Trump was actually referring to the "hidden bias" of the press, rather than the independence of the press.

Wallace responded: "I think there's absolutely something there, and if he had said that, you wouldn't have heard a peep out of me."

Lord knows, Barack Obama criticised Fox News. If Donald Trump wants to criticise the New York Times, that's fine.

But it's different from saying that we are an enemy of the American people. That's a different thing.

And I know there are a lot of [Fox News] listeners out there who are going to reflexively take Donald Trump’s side on this.

[...] If it’s a president you like trying to talk about the press being the enemy of the people, then it’s going to be a president you don’t like saying the same thing.

And that’s very dangerous.

Wallace later received Reince Priebus, White House Chief Of Staff, as a guest on his show, and declared: "You don't get to tell us what to do, Reince. You don't get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did."

Other notable reactions to Trump's declaration:

  • Senator John McCain: "The first thing dictators do is shut down the press." 

  • Hashtag #NotTheEnemy started trending, honouring journalists, particularly those who died while reporting the news

And here are some other notable figures who called the press "the enemy of the people":

  • Military junta in Myanmar 

  • Richard Nixon

  • State media in Russia 

  • Mao Zedong 

  • Joseph Stalin 

  • Adolf Hitler 

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