People gather near the scene of a shooting near a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot during a congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
One of the repetitive themes that we hear from the media and from their echo chamber is that President’s Trump’s dismissal of the media as “Fake News” and “failing” is somehow a) and assault upon the First Amendment and b) encourages violence against the press. This whining is best encapsulated in a statement released earlier in the week by New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger after a meeting with President Trump:
I told him that although the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists “the enemy of the people.” I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.
I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.
Throughout the conversation I emphasized that if President Trump, like previous presidents, was upset with coverage of his administration he was of course free to tell the world. I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.
Sulzberger’s entire statement is nothing more than self-serving bullsh**. When one looks at the major stories retracted about the administration, it is clear that fact-checking and sourcing are no better in the national media than they are in any high school newspaper. And when one considers that 100% of the retracted stories have been negative, one is left wondering how all the mistakes can run in the same direction. As to the “enemy of the people” statement, I’m not a personal fan of it, but you can’t rationally expect someone who is daily vilified either as a Bozo or a Russian stooge or a Machiavelli who is taking us down the road to monarchy/dictatorship/despotism/rule-by-homeowner’s-association to simply ignore it either.
The idea that Third World despots were cringing in fear of a vibrant free press in the sh**hole countries they rule heard Trump say “enemy of the people” and “fake news” and suddenly decided to crack down is one of the goofiest ideas ever to come out of any newspaper publisher in the history of the Republic.
On the other hand, while I’m still waiting for the first news story of a reporter being targeted for death or injury by a GOPer–by the way, if you’re claiming Jim Acosta was threatened at the Trump rally in Tampa on Thursday, you have to explain why Acosta was tweeting about the great conversations he was having with the crowd when he wasn’t doing live shots–it appears to be indisputable that the unhinged and bizarre stories run by CNN and MSNBC are, in fact, giving rise to real violence and real threats of violence against Republican officials. And the incidents that have occurred have been by the left:
In June 2017, the GOP nearly lost a couple of dozen members to a deranged MSNBC fan, (yes, I know “deranged” and “MSNBC fan” is redundant):
Table by Congressional Research Service, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41609.pdf
Now people have been arrested in conjunction with credible threats of violence against two Republican members of Congress. Steve Scalise received a death threat from 63-year-old Carlos Bayon of Grand Island, NY:
“Hey listen, this message is for you and the people that sent you there. You are taking ours, we are taking yours. Anytime, anywhere. We know where they are,” the voicemails said, according to Buffalo’s ABC affiliate WKBW. “We are not going to feed them sandwiches, we are going to feed them lead. Make no mistake you will pay. Ojo por ojo, diente por diente (Spanish for “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth). That is our law and we are the majority. Have a good day.”
That could nearly be any contributor from MSNBC or CNN talking. And it wasn’t just bluster, prosecutors found items they called “very concerning” in Bayon’s home. He also threatened another member:
Police arrest 63 yr-old Carlos Bayon & charge him with leaving threatening voicemails for Scalise & Hse GOP Conf Chair McMorris Rodgers. Scalise spox: Scalise is grateful to law enforcement..He will never forget how their heroism saved his life & those of his colleagues last year
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) August 2, 2018
The very fact that a guy can be arrested for threatening two GOP House members and the media has decided to not even ask “what were his politics” is an example of the “name that party” game being played with domestic terrorism.
These threats and attacks, much like the mistakes by the press, run overwhelmingly in one direction. They seem to be the direct result of the media generating a frenzy, a veritable series of editorial board sanctioned Two-Minute Hates, against Republicans. The attack against GOP members of Congress practicing baseball and these credible threats did not spring up organically and they don’t exist in a vacuum. They are the logical outcome of media coverage that has taken direct lessons from Völkischer Beobachter in how to demonize the political opposition. Maybe, instead of bellyaching and caterwauling over the lack of respect shown to them by their perceived inferiors and hiding from imaginary bogeymen, the press should spend a few minutes critically examining its role in escalating political violence.
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