While the chances of President Trump going ahead with his "Fake News Awards" look increasingly slim Wednesday, a Democratic super PAC countered by giving Rep. Devin Nunes, among others, its own version of the dubious honor - the "Corrupties" awards.
He added: "The phrase 'fake news' - granted legitimacy by an American president - is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens".
Senator McCain cited statistics from the Committee to Protect Journalists that 262 reporters were jailed last year over their work, making 2017 one of the most risky years on records for journalists worldwide.
Mr Trump announced earlier this month that he would bestow awards on the "most dishonest and corrupt media of the year", setting off alarm bells with free-speech advocates.
It is unclear whether the awards are, well, real.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders downgraded the scheduled show to a "potential event" on Tuesday. They're not on Trump's public schedule for Wednesday. In response to Trump's announcement that he would present fake news awards, CPJ awarded him for "Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom".
The president's support base shares his view that the media is waging a partisan battle against the administration, but the prospect of the awards has fueled criticism from Republicans like Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake over Trump's adversarial treatment of the media.
McCain in his op-ed addresses Trump's "Fake News Awards" and says the president "does not seem to understand that his rhetoric and actions reverberate" around the world.
But Fox News, which Trump regularly praises and often quotes on social media, has been "withdrawn from consideration". The free press is the despot's enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy.