What happened today at rally for Donald Trump in Radford, Virginia could have been predicted by a Psychic Hotline operator. It is the inevitable result of a steady stream of hatred coming straight from the putrid mouth of a crybaby candidate who doesn’t know when he will start “acting presidential.”
Chris Morris, a photographer for Time, was covering the rally when he sought to get pictures of a protest in the audience. He was stopped by a member of Trump’s security detail (there is some confusion as to whether it was Trump’s staff or Secret Service) and words were exchanged. The incident rapidly accelerated into an assault when the security man grabbed Morris by the throat and threw him to the ground.
This is how reporters are treated at Trump rallies pic.twitter.com/hMxuEoKVeG
— Gabby Morrongiello (@gabriellahope_) February 29, 2016
Trump’s supporters were cheering wildly as this was occurring, and Trump himself was on stage egging them on. He even sarcastically said “Isn’t fun being at a Trump rally?” Morris was briefly placed under arrest and ejected from the rally, but he was later allowed to return. He gave a statement to a local television reporter describing how the incident unfolded.
What is notable about this is that an outbreak of violence aimed at journalists was bound to happen. As Trump stated today, this is his idea of fun. But his feelings about reporters have been articulated on many occasions prior to this. It is a staple of his stump speech to insult the press covering him. He points to them and stirs up the hatred in his audience by calling them dummies, liars, and scum, and disparages the news operations that employ them as dishonest and failing.
Trump’s previous attacks on the media have included throwing a Univision reporter out of a rally, calling Megyn Kelly of Fox News a “bimbo,” and grotesquely mocking the physical impairment of a disabled reporter. And then there was the time that his lawyer issued a mob-style threat against a reporter to scare him off of a story. This pattern of behavior was detailed last month by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters who wrote that…
“It’s sad that Donald Trump is normalizing so many unsavory traits with his presidential push this season. He’s normalizing bigotry and xenophobia in the campaign arena, for instance. He’s also mainstreaming the manhandling of the press.”
The violence that simmers just barely below the surface at every Trump rally was bound to flare up as Trump escalates his attacks on the press. Just a few days ago Trump declared that if he were president he would “open up our libel laws” so that he could sue them like they have “never been sued before.” That amounts to a proposal to repeal the First Amendment.
Trump’s campaign has relied on a constant barrage of hatred, and the media is not exempt from that. He even said as much at a rally last month when he literally said “I hate some of these people, I hate ’em.” But it got worse when he added “I would never kill them. I would never do that.” Then reconsidering said “Uh, let’s see, uh…” before concluding that he wouldn’t. He had to think about it. And his glassy-eyed disciples thought it was all very funny.
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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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What we learn from all of this is that Trump is an unstable megalomaniac who isn’t shy about inciting violence. There have already been incidents wherein protesters were harmed while Trump stood by smiling and even encouraging it. Now it is journalists who are the targets. That’s a tactic that was used with some success by the Nazi regime. So Trump has made it crystal clear that hates reporters. In fact, he hates them so much that he would very likely favor using the Second Amendment to destroy the First.