Donald Trump blocked a journalist critical of him on Twitter

"I hope it was because of my stupidest and most popular fact check," Daniel Dale says on Twitter

By Matthew Rozsa

Published October 4, 2017 12:49PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)
(Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

It's highly likely that President Donald Trump has blocked one journalist from following him on Twitter.

According to Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale — who has been fact-checking the president's inaccurate statements since Trump was on the campaign trail — Trump may have blocked him because of a fact-check he did about the age of North Korean despot Kim Jong-un. At least, that's his hope.

As of Tuesday, Dale reported that he had corrected Trump on 653 occasions during his 256 days as president, which averages out to roughly 2.6 false claims every day since his administration began.

"Trump has proven uniquely willing to lie, exaggerate and mislead. By all expert accounts, he is more frequently inaccurate than any of his predecessors," Dale wrote.

Dale told Politico that being blocked from Trump's Twitter account "won't change anything about the work I produce, it'll just make it slightly (and needlessly) more difficult to do it." Although he acknowledged that needing to flip back and forth between an account he has created and his own writing will be inconvenient, he mostly views the decision to block him as "silly."

"I think the blocking is more silly and revealing than it is an actual impediment," Dale said.

Of course, as Politico's Michael Calderone noted on Twitter, journalists aren't always in the best position to criticize politicians for avoiding their critics.

That said, as Salon has noted in the past, there is a potential Constitutional issue in a president deciding to block his Twitter followers.

"I would categorize this under a person’s right to petition the government for redress of grievances," said JoAnne Sweeny, an associate professor of law at the University of Louisville, of cases in which the president blocks U.S. citizens on social media. (It is unclear whether Dale is a U.S. or Canadian citizen). "There was an interesting case in 1986 involving Larry Flynt sending Hustler magazines to members of Congress. Some members complained and the Post Office sued him. He won."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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