Hyperbole, Not Trump, Puts The Media’s Life In Danger

John Lott | President, Crime Prevention Research Center

Remember when President Obama accused Fox News of promoting a “destructive” viewpoint or said that his administration didn’t need to “pretend” that Fox is a “legitimate news organization.”

The Obama administration even spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen. Or how Obama generally refused to take questions from Fox News reporters at press conferences.

Obama’s White House communications director Anita Dunn even claimed, “Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” And on and on it went.

Democrats (and the mainstream media) acted like it was Fox News’ fault for being in Obama’s crosshairs.

Was Obama encouraging violence against Fox News or other news organizations?

How are Obama’s comments such as Fox News being “destructive” to the country different than President Trump saying that “Fake News” is the “enemy of the people”?

Yet, the media’s dire warnings about Trump in just the last couple of weeks could almost fill an entire book.

Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet The Press,” argued that by getting the crowd at one of his rallies riled up against CNN, Trump was engendering possible violence. Todd reminded viewers of an incident last year when a white supremacist used his car to run over a protester in Charlottesville, Virginia.

On Sunday morning’s show, Todd claimed that Trump made violence against the press “easier to rationalize.”

The New York Times’ Bret Stephens even wrote a piece titled: “Trump will have Blood on His Hands.”

Talking about Trump, MSNBC’s Katy Tur said, “Yeah, we get it, you don’t like us. Fine. But do you have to put our lives in danger?”

“I warned that this inflammatory language [by Trump] is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence,” said New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger.

CNN’s Jim Acosta echoed that warning: “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in the conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt.”

After the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, in June, press members and Democrat campaign officials were quick to blame it on Trump’s bashing of “fake news,” which he called the “enemy of the people.” Apologies weren’t forthcoming after police declared the shooting a “targeted attack.” The killer had a long, troubled relationship with the paper, which he had sued for defamation over a July 2011 column.

“This behavior happens in authoritarian societies, where leaders and supporters are pushing down people and the media protests,” claimed CNN’s Jen Psaki. The New York Times’ Mark Landler linked Trump’s language “to Stalin, to Mao, to Lenin … totalitarian societies.”

“We are being led down the drain by President Trump,” declared CNN’s Jake Tapper. Many shows such as NBC’s “Meet the Press” are so biased that “balance” means hosting Democrats alongside Never-Trump Republicans.

But here is the problem. Mass public shooters may begin to realize that shooting up a liberal media outlet would create a publicity firestorm. These shooters crave attention and pick targets where they can cause maximum casualties and gain maximum notoriety.

Let’s hope that people don’t get to thinking that killing people in the media is a special ticket to notoriety.

The inevitable “I told you so” comments that we would hear if violence actually occurred against the media seemingly guarantees a level of coverage that can’t be attained by an attack at a mall, movie theater, or even school.

The New York Times’ Bret Stephens says “the blood on [Trump’s] hands” if anyone in the media is ever attacked.

Of course, this is no different than the impact that the media has on these attacks by continually mentioning these killer’s names.

But don’t hold your breath that the media will recognize their responsibility in any violence against themselves than they have recognized any responsibility that they might have in encouraging other mass public shootings by giving killers massive media attention.

Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns.”


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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