Donald Trump’s long history of attacking the press has made it permissible to commit acts of violence against journalists (in my opinion, of course). Here is a brief chronology leading up to the Annapolis shooting.
SELECTED EVENTS prior to 2017
Donald Trump’s attacks on the news media: A not-so-short history … Trump tells crowd the journalists covering him are “absolutely dishonest. Absolute scum. Remember that. Scum. Scum. Totally dishonest people.” … “I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people. It’s true.”
From CNN.com, June 1, 2016:
Trump launches all-out attack on the press … Over the last year, Trump has repeatedly called out individual reporters on Twitter and in interviews for everything from what he viewed as insufficient crowd camera shots to biased reporting. And attacking the press is a regular part of the presumptive Republican nominee’s stump speech, during which he typically rips reporters as “scum,” “slime,” “dishonest” and “disgusting” — often prompting jeers from the crowd.
From the New York Times, October 15, 2016:
Partisan Crowds at Trump Rallies Menace and Frighten News Media … even reporters long accustomed to the toxic fervor of Trump rallies were startled — and even frightened — at the vitriol of a Cincinnati crowd on Thursday evening as more than 15,000 supporters flashed homemade signs, flipped middle fingers and lashed out in tirades often laced with profanity as journalists made their way to a crammed, fenced-in island in the center of the floor. … The Trump supporters crowded by the metal barriers protecting the area, leaning over to get in one last insult … By attacking the news media, Mr. Trump appears to be seeking to delegitimize an industry he views as an impediment to his presidential ambitions, while riling up his base of supporters.
EVENT #1 From the NY Times, February 17, 2017:
President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media “is the enemy of the American people.”
EVENT #2 - 16 months later Trump was still at it. From USA Today, June 13, 2018:
President Trump posted a series of tweets about his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as he arrived back in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning, including blasting the media as “our country’s biggest enemy” for its coverage of the historic summit.
EVENT #3 From Baltimore Sun, June 29, 2018:
A gunman blasted his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis with a shotgun Thursday afternoon, killing five people … Journalists dived under their desks and pleaded for help on social media. One reporter described the scene as a “war zone.” A photographer said he jumped over a dead colleague and fled for his life.
EVENT #4 From Baltimore Sun, June 29, 2018:
President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly denounced the press as the “enemy” of the American people, offered condolences Friday and pledged to fight violence in America after the deadly shooting at the Capital Gazette office in Annapolis.
The president called Thursday’s attack “horrific,” and said it “shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief.”
“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs,” Trump said from the White House Friday …
Really? After years of horrific attacks aimed at the press, we are now supposed to believe that the journalists, who he has consistently reviled, now should be “free from the fear of being violently attacked”?
EVENT #5 Selene San Felice of the Capital Gazette survived the latest mass shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. She tells us what happened and why in This is America. Do something about it (reprinted in this morning’s Daily Star). Here is San Felice’s op-ed in full.
I watched John McNamara die. I had to step over Wendi Winters to escape. I said “f—” on CNN.
If you’re upset about the expletive and not that someone killed almost every editor at The Capital — five people who were deeply loved and irreplaceable — you are not an American.
If your help ends at thoughts and prayers, I don’t want them. What I want is action.
I’m not just talking to the president, or our governor, or our elected officials. I’m talking to every single person in this nation.
We must do better. We must vote better. We must push for legislation so that this doesn’t feel normal.
Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and thousands of people are dead because of shootings like the one I lived through.
The man who killed the people I love bought his gun legally. His record of stalking and harassment had been expunged. But even if it hadn’t been, he still could have bought the gun he used to shoot Rebecca, Wendi, Rob, Gerald and John.
He was legally allowed to plot our deaths and trap us like fish in a barrel.
This is not political. I’m not asking for change as a liberal media puppet. I’m asking for something to be done for the sake of our humanity.
When my parents took me home from the police station on Thursday, my dad, a retired homicide detective, joked about how I should have had a concealed-carry weapon. He’s always been a strong believer in the good guy with the gun.
I explained that even if I did have a gun, it would have been in my purse, just out of reach between the desk I was hiding under and John’s body.
“I don’t think I could have done anything in that situation either if I had a gun,” my dad admitted.
President Trump spoke at the White House Friday, just before I attended a vigil for my friends.
“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” he said before the crowd applauded.
Last year, he called journalists just like us “the enemy of the people.”
Two days before my peers were murdered, alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos wrote in a text, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”
Now that my friends are dead, he said he was just trolling.
Trump said he would never leave our sides in that press event, but I never felt him on my side in the first place. I want to know what he’s going to do to fix this.
Stop brushing this off. Stop saying you’re going to pray for me. Pray for me, and then pass legislation that stops the mass murder of Americans. Pray for me, then vote for people who are serious about making a change. That starts with the general election in November.
One day, you may find yourself under a desk watching people die while you’re on hold with 911.
My thoughts and prayers will be with you.
EVENT 6 TBA, but I would put money on another deadly assault on journalists. This is the America that is, and it seems, will be, thanks to Trump and his propaganda machine.