These are the very things about Donald Trump and his faithful MAGA devotees that should both concern and enrage every other decent American.
These are the very things I keep pointing out as a reason to reject and fight back against the cancer of Trumpism.
Honestly, I don’t care what your views are on the media. I know that most mainstream media leans left and their coverage of the news, whatever it may be, is always slanted from that angle.
I also know there are networks like OANN and American Pravda (Fox News, for those who haven’t picked it up, yet) who are no better, only differently slanted.
What we cannot allow is for a would-be authoritarian despot to continue to label a free press the “enemy of the people.”
The enemy of a free people is one who would attempt to shut down any voices of dissent and funnel any information through his own, pre-approved filter.
That is what Donald Trump has wanted, from the start.
His inability to control the press – beyond Fox News, that is – has driven him to whip up the negative energy of his fan base, in order that the “Lügenpresse” might be intimidated into silence, if not completely shut down.
What Donald Trump says, his base responds to.
On Monday night, the president was in El Paso, Texas holding one of his rallies. He’s had enough of these by now that everyone knows the shtick.
He yammered on about things he’s done that haven’t actually been done (such as building the wall).
He lied about random people approaching him in tears, thanking him for his glorious service.
And of course, he attacked the media and whipped up his adoring, unthinking fans to turn their ire on the press members assembled to the back of the room.
I, and others have been saying that it was only a matter of time before one of those red capped acolytes took their liege’s rhetoric to the next level.
On Monday night, we saw just that.
During one riff on Monday, Trump complained of coverage of his administration, saying that “no matter what we do, they figure out a way to make it” negative. Booing ensued from the crowd.
In another segment, Trump claimed that “some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called fact checkers.” The crowd rained down additional jeers.
It is common for crowds at Trump rallies to turn toward the press pen in the back of the venue and heckle journalists and cameramen, or break out in chants such as “CNN sucks.”
Then, of course, one man took it too far, jumped into the press pit, and attacked a member of the press.
BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was, per a BBC spokesman, “violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd while covering a President Trump rally in Texas last night.”
“F— the media,” the man, who was not immediately identified but was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, could be heard shouting in footage from the incident.
“The man was removed by security and Ron is fine,” the statement continued. “The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was OK. It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”
To his credit, President Trump did, indeed, ask if the cameraman was ok, after the fact. That doesn’t excuse the fact that his rhetoric was the impetus for the attack, in the first place.
It was a loathsome display, and only a small taste of what could happen.
Just attended my first @realDonaldTrump rally where my colleague BBC cameraman Rob Skeans was attacked by a Trump supporter. The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night #TrumpElPaso pic.twitter.com/Oiw8osPms3
— Eleanor Montague (@EleanorMontague) February 12, 2019
So to what end?
A people who would rather control the press, by violence and fear, if necessary, are not a people who can be trusted with the future of our republic.