A Republican state representative filed a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly Wednesday that would formally classify CNN and the Washington Post as "fake news" following the two news outlets' sympathetic coverage of a book suggesting Trump supporters belong to a cult.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Micah Van Huss, argued the two news outlets should be condemned for denigrating American citizens and be recognized as "part of the media wing of the Democratic Party."
"On October 3, 2019, an editor for The Washington Post wrote that President Donald J. Trump has cast a spell on the Republican Party and suggested that Trumpism is cultlike; and ... on November 24, 2019, a CNN host suggested that Trump supporters belong to a cult and that our president is using mind control," the bill's text reads.
Van Huss was referring to a review conducted by an editor at the Washington Post about the book, "The Cult of Trump," written by self-proclaimed cult expert Steven Hassan, as well as an interview CNN conducted with Hassan about the book.
In the book, Hassan claims that Trump is a cult leader who uses mind control on his followers.
The Post editor, in his review, considers if there is "something almost involuntary about the spell Trump has cast on the Republican Party? Is there something downright cultlike about Trumpism?"
A month later, in November, CNN host Brian Stelter brought Hassan onto his program where the two discussed the validity of the book's claims.
In the bill, Van Huss criticizes the two news outlets for suggesting President Trump's supporters demonstrate cult-like behavior and argues such suggestions "substitute a value judgment in place of a sorely needed argumentative analysis of how voters generate their own political views."
"This cult diagnosis isn't a reasoned argument, or even an objective description," he adds.
"The mainstream media is in a panic because President Trump has opened the eyes of many average Americans who are tired of politics as usual," he suggests as an alternative to the book's suggestions of mind control. "They are tired of being politicians' political pawns, and they are tired of every other country's needs being put before their own."