Scoot: Is President Trump applauding violence against the media?

October 19, 2018 - 12:27 pm

As a patriotic American, I must disregard the potential for criticism and state the obvious. Last night at a Make America Great Again rally in Montana, President Trump used a Republican candidate’s physical attack on a journalist to fire up his base and, in so doing, seemed to justify physical violence against the news media.

President Trump’s contempt for the media is well-documented, and he took advantage of a rally crowd to whip up condemnation of the news media.

In June of 2017, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed journalist Ben Jacobs as Jacobs was covering the candidate at an event. Last night, President Trump said that when he first heard about the attack on the journalist, he was concerned the news of the attack would hurt the Republican’s election chances. Then the President said that he thought about it and realized the people of Montana would like what the candidate did to the journalist and the assault would actually help him win. Gianforte did win.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault on the journalist; and the judge sentenced him to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a fine of $300 plus $85 for court fees.

At the Make America Great Again rally President Trump called Gianforte "one of the most respected people in Congress” and a “tough cookie.” The crowd at the Montana rally applauded and cheered when Trump showed support for a candidate body slamming a journalist.

Before the rally, President Trump admitted that “it certainly looks” as if Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and that he is waiting for the results of an investigation by the Saudis as to the fate of the U.S.-based journalist. The President assured us they make a “very strong statement.”

I don’t want to suggest that President Trump supports torturing and dismembering journalists, but I can’t help but think that on some level Trump would like to see a few American journalists disappear.

President Trump’s war against the media is a characteristic of the mentality of a dictator. The strong dismissal of the credibility of the news media in America is a strategy to discredit any and all negative stories about the President.

Trump is not the first president to have problems with the news media – President Obama criticized The Fox News Channel and other conservative media outlets. But past presidential contempt for the news media was not as severe as President Trump’s contempt is today.

Collectively, the news media has many faults and journalists can be annoying and obnoxious, but the hysteria over the news media Trump is establishing is a threat to democracy.

In the wake of the disappearance of the WAPO journalist, President Trump’s not so tacit support for a Republican candidate who body slammed a journalist further feeds the growing contempt for the news media and could encourage some Trump fanatics to think physically attacking members of the news media is acceptable and even a necessary action against the “enemy of the people.”

From the beginning to our country, journalists have kept authority in check and represented the people in a quest to prevent authority from abusing its power over the people. Today, in 2018, that is still the enduring role of the news media. It’s no wonder those in positions of authority have contempt for the news media.

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