Brian Stelter wasn't quite willing to go there, but you can draw a straight line from Trump and his enablers over on Fox like Sean Hannity, and these death threats being made to members of the media.
This Sunday, a caller from Pennsylvania phoned into C-SPAN's morning call-in show, Washington Journal, and threatened to shoot both Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN, based on a lie that, as Reliable Sources host Stelter pointed out, likely came from watching Sean Hannity.
Stelter gave Hannity more of the benefit of the doubt than he deserves, and said he hopes that The New York Times' Bret Stevens' prediction that “we are approaching a day when blood on the newsroom floor will be blood on the president's hands" is wrong. Sadly, Stevens is right, but don't expect Trump or anyone over on state-run TV to accept responsibility for anyone being harmed or killed when ultimately, that's exactly what happens.
Here are Stelter's full remarks:
STELTER: Attacks on the media are having an effect. Threats against reporters are on the rise. But instead of me just telling you that, I want you to hear it for yourself. On Friday, a caller to C-SPAN said he's going to shoot me and Don Lemon if he sees us. Now let me just preface this by saying I'm not asking for sympathy. I don't think I'm in extreme danger. I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff, and this problem is not confined to CNN. People at Fox News and other outlets had to deal with this garbage too. But these kinds of threats are coming in more often. So take a listen. Here's the phone call.
HOST: Don, state college Pennsylvania supports the criticism in the media. Don, you're on the air.
CALLER: Good morning. It all started when trump got elected. Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump supporters all racists. They don't even know us --
STELTER: Now let me just stop it right there. I've never called all Trump supporters racist, and neither has Don Lemon. So what this guy is about to say, is predicated on a lie.
CALLER: They don't even know these Americans out here and they are calling us racists because we voted for Trump? Come on. Give me a break. They started the war. I see them, I'm going to shoot them. Bye.
STELTER: So he says we started a war, so if he sees us, he's going to shoot us. So where did the caller get the impression that I called all Trump supporters racist? I don't know, but I do know that the night before on Fox Sean Hannity played a two-year-old clip of me asking if racial anxiety was a factor in Trump's rise.
Obviously researchers have proven that, yes, racial anxiety and resentment was a factor. But that's not the same as calling all Trump supporters racists, and I don't know if the C-SPAN caller watched Hannity. I'm not blaming Hannity. I just thought the timing was odd.
Friday's threatening phone call on C-SPAN is just a tiny illustration of the threats that are out there. Many journalists who cover politics say they are receiving more and more threats nowadays in the Trump era. MSNBC'S Katy Tur sounded the alarm earlier this week.
TUR: “I hope you get raped and killed” one person wrote to me just this week. Raped and killed. Not just me but a couple of my female colleagues as well. And in case you want to argue this has nothing to do with the president, the most recent note I got ended with MAGA.
STELTER: Of course there's always been unhinged people in the world, but journalists are concerned now, as Bret Stevens wrote in The New York Times on Saturday, journalists are concerned “we are approaching a day when blood on the newsroom floor will be blood on the president's hands.”
I hope he is wrong.