German reporters win praise for tough questioning of Donald Trump

Reporter lauded after finding way to ask Donald Trump tough questions others couldn't

Kristina Dunz says she was advised by US colleagues to pose questions in German so President could not interrupt

Caroline Mortimer@cjmortimer
Sunday 19 March 2017 14:10

A German reporter has won plaudits from fellow journalists after finding a way to ask Donald Trump the kind of challenging questions he normally manages to avoid.

Kristina Dunz from the German Press Agency (DPA) was widely praised for asking Mr Trump why he was “so scared” of the media during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trip to the White House.

She said: “Why are you so scared of diversity in the news, and in the media, that you speak so often of fake news?

“And that things after all, in the end, cannot be proven, for example, the fact that you have been wiretapped by [Barack] Obama?”

Mr Trump largely ignored this question and instead answer another question she asked about foreign trade – insisting he was not an isolationist.

Ms Dunz, and a second German reporter who asked about Mr Trump’s claim GCHQ was behind the wiretap, were widely praised for their questioning.

Clare Jeffery, the editor-in-chief of Mother Jones, said they were getting “far better reviews than the US press corps” and Jeremy Diamond, CNN’s White House reporter tweeted "Good on our German colleagues for asking POTUS about wiretapping claims after 2 reporters Trump called on did not".

But Ms Dunz has shrugged off the praise, telling Stern magazine she was simply asking the questions US journalists were unable to.

She said: “He leaves no room for critical journalists, and this is something that naturally attracts attention, [to ask questions].

“CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times and co are no longer given the opportunity to ask questions.

“Mr Trump is safe and chooses journalists, which he knows will not be too critical.

“In the end, we knew as German journalists that our US colleagues in this press conference would hope for us to ask those questions for us.”

She said Mr Trump selects the journalists he wants to speak to and decides who comes to press briefings but in Germany Ms Merkel has no influence over the media.

Journalists do not ask questions “just to provoke” but because they “want to know something”, she added.

She said she had been advised by a US colleague to pose her questions in German because Mr Trump would have to wait for the full translation before responding and therefore could not interrupt.

A US reporter told Ms Dunz to pose her question in German so Mr Trump could not interrupt Picture:

She thanked people for their praise but added: “I would like everyone to know that there are very many, very, very good journalists in the US, who are now very hard on Mr Trump.

“Those who want to suppress critical journalism have not understood the role of the media in a democracy.”

Mr Trump has had a difficult relationship with the press since his election and has repeatedly branded critical organisations such as CNN and the New York Times “fake news”.

Last month, his press secretary Sean Spicer was heavily criticised for excluding several organisations from a “gaggle” – an informal briefing – but allowing in several organisations supportive of Mr Trump’s agenda such as Breitbart.

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