It was bound to happen, sooner or later. Donald Trump’s rallying cry of “fake news” against the mainstream media has inspired at least one man from Detroit to threaten the lives of every employee at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. .
According to The Washington Post, this man called CNN headquarters on January 9th and told the operator
“Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down” He then continued to spew expletives until hanging up.
He proceeded to call back again and whispered “I’m coming for you CNN. I’m smarter than you. More powerful than you. I have more guns than you. More manpower. Your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours.”
Fortunately, the FBI was able to identify the caller, one Brandon Griesemer of Novi, Michigan. He was arrested on a charge of interstate communications to extort, threaten or injure. He is also currently free on a $10,000 unsecured bond. While Mr. Griesemer appears to be one French fry short of a full Happy Meal, that in no way lessens the danger that he, and others like him, pose as a result of Trump’s constant harping on “fake news.”
The next person planning a similar attack may do so without alerting his or her intended victims first. CNN and other media outlets doubtless have security for their employees, but if a deluded individual who doesn’t care about the outcome attacks, innocent individuals could be injured or killed.
It is no coincidence that these threats occurred after Trump’s highly touted “Fake News Awards.” Nor is it a coincidence that CNN has been a particular target of Trump, especially his violent tweets against them, the latest showing an insect with the CNN logo squashed under his shoe.
Every president in history (with the possible exception of George Washington) has been the target of attacks by the press. But even the most popular and unpopular of presidents have understood the role that a free press plays in our republic. They may have railed against them in private, and in the case of Richard Nixon’s famous “Checkers” speech, sometimes in public. But until Donald Trump came along they never threatened the safety or the freedom of the press.
A recent ad, personally approved by Donald Trump, accused the Democrats of being complicit in any murders committed by illegal immigrants. Well, Mr. Trump, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If any news employee is killed under your watch, then the responsibility for their death lies solely on your shoulders.