As his poll numbers have dropped, Trump’s rhetoric against the “rigged media” has grown more heated. He seems to take a perverse pleasure in ruling up his crowds against them, while they are stuck in a press pen (an unprecedented situation itself). Attendees walk by and shout obscenities, spit, take pictures, and otherwise act like animals who never learned how to eat with utensils. A few days ago one left a sign with a Nazi swastika and the word “media” on it.
Some news organizations have started providing security for their people. At Monday night’s rally in Green Bay, the crowd chanted, “CNN sucks! CNN sucks!” and “Tell the truth!”
General Flynn warmed up the audience by describing reporters as “soldiers” working for news organizations. He intentionally worked the crowd into a frenzy against “the media”.
Trump has been blaming the media for the scandals he has faced this past week. “They want to put nice, sexy headlines up.” He also referred to reporters as “the enemies back there.” He says they will “poison the minds” of the voters with “lies, lies, lies.” The media is part of a “conspiracy against you, the American people,” along with “global financial interests.”
Nothing and nobody is good enough for him. Any coverage that is not 100% positive is a liberal plot against him. Trump is even unhappy with FOX, his designated safe space. He told them this morning, “I would say that FOX certainly hasn’t been great, but you have been being than some of the others.”
He then went on to concoct a conspiracy theory in which he accused the “Mexican Carlos Slim,” who is a part owner of the New York Times, of colluding with the editor. This rhetoric makes for an even more sinister view of reporters. The story has been reported on Rightwing websites like Breitbart. The NYT sees it like this:
In giving those allegations prominence, the standard-bearer of the Republican Party is adding a sinister, false twist to his press criticism that arguably puts the reporters covering his rallies in danger. In effect, he is painting them as traitors. Now, who’s poisoning the minds of the electorate?
One reporter received an email that said: “Fucking Clinton shill you will hang soon enough”.
Another reporter for Politico was sent a photograph of herself wearing a Star of David and with a bloody bullet hole in her forehead.
The Arizona Republic, a newspaper that endorsed a democrat for the first time in its history, received death threats after they published their opinion piece. They were so vile, and so numerous, the editor determined it needed to be addressed in another op-ed.
To further drive home the point, Melania Trump sat down for an interview with Anderson Cooper Monday night and reiterated the current talking points.
“I didn’t expect media would be so dishonest and so mean. I didn’t expect that,” Melania Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Also for me, from the beginning, I never had one correct story — one honest story.” (source)
Trump doesn’t have to directly attack. He knows what to say to rile up his supporters. Then they go and do the dirty work. The anti-Semitism alone is horrific.
I will leave it with these words from Dan Rather.
This is not a game. This is not the usual bipartisan antics of candidates complaining about unfavorable press coverage. This is about subverting one of the most noble of our traditions. Our stature as a nation – moral, economic, social, and even the military – is served by having a press corps unshackled and unafraid.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating. An independent press, with fiercely independent journalists when necessary, is the red-beating heart of our American democracy. Not understanding that, is to be, by definition, un-American.