Trump's reckless war against the media, and the reporters who dare to stand up to him, is having very dangerous consequences.
Donald Trump is so desperate for some positive spin on his failed shutdown that he has taken to thanking people for praise that was never offered, even as he recklessly attacks the press as “fake news” in the same breath.
After Democrats won some concessions in order to help Republicans reopen the government, reporting showed that Trump was considered a liability to solving the crisis even within his own administration. Trump is so desperate to fight that narrative that on Tuesday morning, he thanked CNN’s Jim Acosta for things Acosta never said while at the same attacking CNN as “fake news.”
Trump tweeted “Even Crazy Jim Acosta of Fake News CNN agrees: ‘Trump World and WH sources dancing in end zone: Trump wins again…Schumer and Dems caved…gambled and lost.’ Thank you for your honesty Jim!”
But the quotes that Trump attributed to Acosta were actually from White House officials, and reported by Acosta in a tweet that read “Trump world and WH sources dancing in end zone: ‘Trump wins again… ‘ Schumer and Dems ‘caved… gambled and lost.'”
Acosta also reported the quotes on air.
Trump’s latest attack on CNN comes just one day after news broke that a Michigan man was arrested for making repeated threats against CNN personnel.
“Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down,” he said in one call. “”I am on my way right now to gun the f****** CNN cast down …. I am coming to kill you,” he said in a second call.
The man’s threats also contained epithets against African-Americans and Jews. He was charged in federal court Friday “with transmitting interstate communications with the intent to extort and threat to injure.”
It is difficult not to draw a direct line between Trump’s incessant attacks on the media, and particularly CNN, as “fake news,” as well as his promotion of violent threats against that particular outlet.
Acosta has been a particular target of Trump’s hostility since the election, but Acosta has consistently stood up to Trump. As president-elect, Trump attacked Acosta at a press conference using the “fake news” epithet, but Acosta fought back and demanded to be heard.
Meanwhile, White House correspondent April Ryan, another primary target of Trump’s hostility, has received death threats following a Fox News report attacking her for questioning Trump.
Ryan and Acosta are both journalists of color, and the White House’s particular hostility against them hardly seems coincidental.
Trump’s reckless war against the media is resulting in very real and dangerous consequences. While the plot against CNN was thwarted, it’s seems to be only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. It’s time for Republicans to show a tenth of the courage these reporters have and put a stop to this.