The Consequences of Trump's War on the Press

[Content Note: Violence; white supremacy; terrorism.]

Donald Trump has been waging a war on the press since virtually the moment he announced his candidacy in July 2015.

In the first year of his campaign, Trump made "incredible personal attacks on members of the press, openly mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski; saying Fox debate moderator Megyn Kelly had 'blood coming out of her wherever'; ginning up outrage against the press at campaign events; and launching an all-out jeremiad against the media during a press conference, during which he called the press 'sleazy' and 'unbelievably dishonest.'"

He defended his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was accused of physically assaulting a female reporter, in addition to having allegedly "pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances."

Further, Trump blocked news organizations from his campaign events, revoking the press credentials of established institutions like the Washington Post, because he didn't like their coverage.

This was all before he started screaming "Fake news!" and elevating his war on the press to dangerous levels, as part of a demonstrable pattern Aphra Behn comprehensively documented.

The press is not above criticism. But Donald Trump's war on the free press is not "criticism." It is a sustained campaign to discredit reputable media institutions; to elevate propagandists; to intimidate individual reporters; to silence critics; and to make himself the arbiter of what constitutes "the truth."

This is a chapter right out of the authoritarian's playbook. And it has consequences.

Darran Simon at CNN: Michigan Man Arrested After Caller Threatens to Kill CNN Employees.
Authorities arrested a Michigan man last week after he allegedly called CNN several times, threatening to kill employees at the network's Atlanta, Georgia, headquarters, according to a federal affidavit.

Brandon Griesemer made 22 calls to CNN on January 9 and January 10 and four calls, which were recorded, contained threats, according to the affidavit, which was unsealed Friday.

Griesemer, whose age was not given, also made disparaging statements about Jewish people, African-Americans, and the network in several calls, the affidavit said.

...Michigan authorities first crossed paths with Griesemer last fall.

On September 19, a man — later identified as Griesemer — called an employee at an Islamic center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and made derogatory comments about the mosque and Muslims, an FBI agent said in the affidavit.

...CNN received the first threatening call around 3 p.m. on January 9. The call was made to a publicly listed phone number at the Atlanta headquarters from the same cell phone number used to call the Islamic center in Ann Arbor on September 19, the affidavit said.

It was the first of three threatening calls that day to CNN from that number, according to the affidavit.

"Fake news. I'm coming to gun you all down," said the caller, who cursed and used an expletive directed at African-Americans, the affidavit said.

"I am on my way right now to gun the f****** CNN cast down ...I am coming to kill you," the caller said a second call to CNN, according to affidavit.
I'm sure we'll hear all about how Griesemer is "mentally unstable" or too young to be held accountable or some other excuse that would only be afforded to a white man, who will be described as having "acted alone," despite the fact that he is acting in precise accordance to the anti-Black, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, press-hating agenda of the United States president.

Where did he get radicalized?

The answer to that question could not be more clear.

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