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The Free Press & Donald Trump

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Posted on August 30 2018

This is an entry that I never wanted to write, because as an American I never thought we would have a President of the United States utter phrases used by authoritarians and brutal dictators. Sadly the actions, the tweets, the stump speeches, the interviews all show us: Donald Trump has no bottom, no decent and lacks moral authority. 

 The Free Press is NOT our Enemy...

On February 17, 2017...this was the very first time Trump tweeted that our (yes I am saying our) Mainstream Media “is the enemy of the American People!”...it should be noted this tweet was just a mere 27 days after Trump took the “oath of office”

 

 

 

 

I think the initial response for most sane Americans was: “he said what now?”...at the time of this particular Trump’s February 2017 tweet, I was stuck on the beltway (DC gridlock is maddening) with my sunroof open, enjoying an unseasonably warm February day in DC...I may or may not have been rocking out to 38 Special.

Sadly, I made the mistake of brushing his tweet off as:  “oh goody gumdrops, Trump’s Adult Daycare worker didn’t come to work today”, because a tiny part of me thought; surely Trump will rise to the dignity, respect and awesome power that comes with the Office of the President of the United States. And yes I will acknowledge that “fractional benefit of the doubt” may have been naivety on my part, but having spent many decades in the DC area, I wanted to believe that Trump would be the President to ALL Americans, not just a select few.

Perhaps I should have paid closer attention, as this orginal tweet was an obvious foreboding foreshadowing of dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric to come. In 2018 alone Trump has tweeted “enemy of the American people” ten times, you can run a word search of Trump’s Twitter Archive, here.

 

 

What I find most problematic is this nonstop verbal abuse and Trump’s clear weaponization of social media, where time and time again Trump uses Russian Active Measures on millions of Americans.  Everyday and the vast majority of the time, it is multiple times a day Donald Trump debases the Office of POTUS. Which leads me to conclude that Donald Trump does not respect the Office he temporarily holds. The actual damage Trump has caused both domestically and globally, it is actually difficult to quantify. But the facts show, under Trump our Allies and more broadly the Global community has lost faith and respect for America.

As an American, I find that deeply problematic and often times horrifying. And yes I will conceed the “damage” may be temporary but the long lasting damage and impact of Trust and Respect, Trump has caused should give all of us pause.

With respect to Trump’s ongoing war with the mainstream media and Enemy of the (American) People, this is incredibly dangerous rhetoric.

 

 

The reality is Donald Trump has amplified this hateful and dangerous rhetoric. I stand behind my original assertion: in Donald Trump, Russian and Vladimir Putin found America’s greatest weakness...Trump uses his bullhorn to telegraph to the very worst of American society, there’s a reason the White Nationalist, Racist think of Donald Trump as “their dear leader”, a large portion of Trump’s base.

The fact that Trump tweeted this today should not be lost on any of you. And sure I suppose you could say there’s no way that Trump knew his Justice Department arrested one of his supporters. But that’s just a horrible weak excuse.

Robert Darrell Chain & Boston Globe:

Earlier today the AUSA Andrew Lelling announced the arrest of Robert D Chain, see the Press Release, found here.

On Aug. 10, 2018, the Boston Globe announced that it was requesting that other newspaper publications around the country publish a coordinated editorial response to political attacks on the media. The coordinated editorial response was to be published on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. 

The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of no greater than five years, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

 

The details included in six page Affidavit of the FBI agent accompanying the Criminal Complaint, are beyond disturbing. These are the defendant’s words, (not mine):

August 13, 2018 in a recorded call to the Boston Globe newsroom:

 

CHAIN stated, “Hey, how’s your pussy smell today, nice and fresh? We are going to shoot you motherfuckers in the head, you Boston Globe cocksuckers. Shoot every fucking one of you.” (emphasis added)

 

On August 16, 2018, the date in which the Boston Globe had coordinated editorials by other newspapers  was published, CHAIN in yet another recorded call to the Boston Globe stated:

You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every fucking one of you. Hey, why don’t you call the F, why don’t you call Mueller, maybe he can help you out buddy. Still there faggot? Alright, why, you going to trace my call? What are you going to do motherfucker? You ain’t going to do shit. I’m going to shoot you in the fucking head later today, at 4 o’clock. Goodbye.” (emphasis added)

 

On  August 22, 2018 the Boston Globe received two additional calls from defendant CHAIN, in which he stated:

“Because you are the enemy of the people, and I want you to go fuck yourself. As long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threats, harass, and annoy the Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, the other fake news.” (emphasis added)

 

Of all that was detailed in the six page affidavit, the following paragraph was the most chilling:

A firearms records check revealed that CHAIN owns several firearms, and purchased a new 9mm carbine rifle in May 2018.

 

You can read the other Court filings via this twitter thread, as of yet there isn’t an open source link to the various Court filings of Robert Darrell Chain: 

 

 

This Boston Globe threat isn’t the first time a mainstream media outlet has been threatened with bodily harm. As you may recall on January 19, 2018, Brandon Griesemer was arrested for making threatening calls to CNN headquarters, the affidavit is, chilling:

 

Should you be inclined you can read the January Criminal Complaint and Affidavit  here, As detailed in the Affidavit, the defendant over the course of several days, called CNN and made the following statements:

 

 ‘Fake news. I'm coming to gun you all down..”

“I am on my way right now to gun the f****** CNN cast down .... I am coming to kill you,"

The caller again threatened to come to the Atlanta headquarters to "gun every single last one of you," 

 

 

On June 28, 2018 the day that five employees of the Capital Gazette were brutally murdered...this is what Trump said the day after the shooting:

 

 

Unsurprisingly Trump since the Capital Gazette murders, Trump has tweeted about the “fake news” 53 times and some iteration of “enemy of the people” 12 times since the horrible shooting. He doesn’t care and he knows his words have power which is why I find his conduct insidious and irresponsible.

 

I mean on August 6, 2018 , Bob from StateCollege, PA, who indicated that he’s a “republican” and voted for Trump called into CSPAN and said:

“it all started when Trump got elected..Brian Seltzer and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump a racist...they don’t even know us but they call us racist becuase we voted for Trump...they started the war...if I see them, I’m going to shoot them”

 

 

Or how about on August 20, 2018 New York Times reporter Ken Vogel receives this voicemail from a Trump supporter, in which the supporter states:

“You’re the problem. You are the enemy of the people. And although the pen might be mightier than the sword, the pen is not mightier than the AK-47.” (emphasis added)

 

 

But then Trump supporters then go on to threaten female reporters are on the receiving end of:

What you do not see are the nasty letters, or packages, or emails. The threats of physical violence. 'I hope you get raped and killed,' one person wrote to me just this week. 'Raped and killed.' Not just me, but a couple of my female colleagues as well."

 

 

Our Country’s founding fathers believed in the importance and critical role of a free press, so much so, they put the following passage in the First Amendment of our Country’s Constitution:

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances...’

 

 

According to the Committee to Project Journalists, thus far in 2018, worldwide 39 Journalists have lost their lives. Yet sadly the four Journalists who lost their lives in America, were victims of the Capital Gazette mass shooting. 

 

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, tracks a variety of data points, as it relates to our press. Since Donald Trump has taken Office January 2017 to present:

Journalist Arrested/Criminal Charge = 38

Equiment Search or Seizure = 21

Journalist Physycally Attacked = 78

Politicians who have physically attacked Journalist = 2  

Journalist Subpoenaed = 20, of that 14 occurred in 2018

The point of this is these men and women are simply doing their job. Having an adversarial relationship with the Press isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’d argue that it is actually healthy. But the fact is Trump’s dangerous  rhetoric continues to put many Journalist and photojournalist in danger. As an American, a proud American, the Free Press isn’t my enemy and they shouldn’t be yours. 

When the press gets the facts wrong, they issue a retraction or clarification, reporters are humans and they can make mistakes. The distinction is the Media outlet and reporter acknowledge their folly, can you honestly say that Donald Trump does the same?

 

And my parting words come from Senator John McCain, because he truly understood (painful that it’s past tense) the value and importance of a vibrant Free Press.

 

 

 

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