Is the president inciting violence against journalists?
CNN commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro on Sunday said President Donald Trump “is inciting violence against the free press” by railing against the media.
On ABC News’ “This Week,” Navarro said Trump’s Sunday morning tweet of a video of himself attacking a figure with CNN’s logo superimposed on their face was “unacceptable.”
“I think that is the President of the United States taking things way too far. It is an incitement to violence. He is going to get somebody killed in the media,” she said. “Maybe that will stop him.”
CNN's Brian Stelter says his employer is concerned, as are others in the news business:
Newsroom leaders generally make a point of NOT talking about security, lest it invite even more threats and problems. But I'm not giving away any secrets by saying that CNN has been on a heightened state of alert lately. I noticed that several colleagues tweeted about their own safety concerns after Trump posted the video...
As a nation, we've decided to misinterpret the First Amendment and tolerate intimidation of this kind -- against women, non-whites, Jews, journalists -- as if it's in the same category as plain-vanilla letters to the editor. It's silencing some voices. It's limiting what others are willing to say. We shouldn't tolerate attacks of this kind any more than we would shrug off bomb threats, real or fake.
But in the vast majority of cases, these threats aren't precursors to actual violence. Most of the time that's because the threats are the end in themselves -- these are people who aren't prepared to engaged in violence but would like you to think they are.
I also believe that, in the case of Donald Trump, a lot of supporters aren't thinking about violence against their enemies because they believe that the Trump presidency is, in effect, violence against their enemies. Why punch a journalist, or shoot one, or cook up some anthrax and send it to a media organization, when you believe that Trump is literally destroying the mainstream media?
That's the meaning of that Trump video. That's the meaning of another HanAssholeSolo post on Reddit:
I guess I'm supposed to read this as snark, but there's a joking-not-joking quality to it. "SUPER MALE VITALITY" seems like a joke (for the record, it's the name of a sexual performance dietary supplement sold by Alex Jones). To me the worship seems genuine. The Washington Post's Avi Seik quotes responses to the Trump tweet in Reddit's r/The_Donald group:
“You know he saw it, chuckled, and knew he could control the media narrative for days by hitting the ‘post’ button,” wrote American_Crusader. “So he did.”
“If we could give him that, imagine what else we could provide the God-Emperor in Chief with?” a moderator for the group added.
They believe Trump has the power. Also see this graphic at Reddit:
I think there's a risk of pro-Trump violence now -- but I think the risk will increase if there's a Democratic takeover of the House, if there are indictments of former or current Trump aides, or if there's an impeachment. For at least some Trump supporters, Trump is a highly potent wielder of force. If he's brought low, I don't know what happens next.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog