Hoo boy. I’m not sure this is even the most slanted chyron they’ve run today. Breitbart notes that they posted a graphic at 12:19 ET that read, “TRUMP HAS NO PLANS TO CLAIM ANY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR INCITING SERIAL BOMBER.”
Which is unsporting of him. Bad enough that we don’t yet have a suspect; surely we can skip ahead and at least assume the motive. How long does he expect this media narrative to wait?
Next thing you know, CNN will be blaming all gun-rights supporters for a lunatic shooting up Stoneman Douglas high school.
“Manhunt For Serial Bomber Going After Trump’s Targets” read the CNN chyron at about 1:13 PM. This came after another chyron that also referred to those targeted as “Trump Targets.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ended the segment by saying, “The one common thread between all of these bombs–all of those who are being targeted are President Trump’s frequent punching bags.”
This segment came mere hours after CNN’s John King opened up a panel discussion by stating: “No one’s blaming the president. Is anyone blaming the president?”
I take back what I said earlier about Megyn Kelly being a good fit for CNN potentially. That’s unfair to her. She’s landed more hard shots on Trump personally than the entirety of the CNN anchorhood has, but she has sufficient integrity that I think she’d wait for a farking suspect here before laying the blame at Trump’s feet. And she’d probably also note that he was clear about his disapproval of the bomber’s methods at the White House yesterday.
But all of this was foreseeable, which I know because it was foreseen. Here’s something from January, the last time CNN blamed Trump for violence directed at it. His habit of calling the “fake news media” the “enemy of the people” is unusually incendiary stuff, it’s true, but American politicians of all stripes play with incendiaries. The near-mass murder of Republican congressmen last year didn’t happen in a political vacuum.
If you were mentally ill, struggling with violent impulses, and prone to channeling your frustrations into political activism, which message would be more likely to send you over the edge? Trump tweeting a vintage WWE clip of him “clotheslining” CNN or people like Bernie Sanders insisting that Republicans are hellbent on remaking the health insurance industry so that more poor people will die, by design? The answer is obvious but the media is inured to the progressive message because, well, they agree with it. That Republicans are racist and malevolent in their intentions isn’t “incendiary,” it’s just the truth. But the president demagoging his critics as “fake news”? Now that’s alarming.
So if something terrible happens [to a journalist or a Democrat], Trump will plead “double standard” and many a righty will ride to his defense. I will too, reluctantly, mostly because I feel now as I felt during the Palin/Giffords fiasco: Even if it had been true that Jared Loughner was inspired by Palin’s “crosshairs map” (which he wasn’t), you can’t draw the parameters of political discourse to suit society’s nuttiest members. Trump’s never asked anyone to pick up a gun or knife. If that dirtbag in Michigan who threatened CNN saw “murder” in his goofy tweet, that’s his problem, not Trump’s. But please understand: That argument isn’t likely to prevail with most of the public, mainly because of how singular the presidency is. Trump is the most famous man in the world with the most powerful office in the world. He’s surrounded by an intense cult of personality populated by his most devoted supporters. His critics will claim in the aftermath of an attack on a reporter, not unpersuasively, that he has unique influence in the things he says and therefore has a unique responsibility to avoid rhetoric that might even *accidentally* convince someone who’s unbalanced that violence against his enemies is justified. That criticism won’t be easy to answer.
It won’t be, especially given Trump’s habit of winking at actual violence towards protesters at his rallies. And CNN knows it, which is why they’re so eager to make the point that they can’t wait another few days for the FBI to identify the suspect to get the ball rolling.
Via the Free Beacon, here’s Mary Katharine Ham trying to talk sense to a panel of CNNers who definitely, positively aren’t blaming Trump (yet), although they kinda are.