Putin, Trump, and the killing of journalists

This morning, the President of the United States took to Twitter to say that the investigation against him and his associates — the investigation that has already yielded multiple convictions and guilty pleas — is “illegal and rigged”. He then went on to add — quoting Rush Limbaugh — that those investigating him “ought to be in jail”. While I found both of these things to be incredibly alarming, I was more concerned by what came just before — a series of posts, authored by Donald Trump, which once again referred to the press as “the enemy of the people,” and suggested that media outlets critical of Republicans should face “retribution.”

Upon reading this, my first thought was that Donald Trump, in posting this, knowing full well that a journalist had just been physically assaulted at his rally in El Paso, and having seen the murder of American citizens this past June in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette, doesn’t care at all about the lives of journalists and the critical role they play in our democracy. This thought, however, soon gave way to the memory of Trump supporters shouting the Nazi slur “Lügenpresse” [lying press] not too long ago. And, from there, I started thinking about Putin, who is thought to have personally ordered the murders of several Russian journalists, and how Donald Trump had once excused the Russian leader’s use of violence against critics by saying, “At least he’s a leader.” And, as I was thinking about all of this, and contemplating where we might be heading, I saw the following post by Russian expatriate Garry Kasparov.

I know we’re conditioned to think, “Oh, that could never happen here,” but it is happening here. The President of the United States is saying that his perceived enemies should be jailed, and that members of the media should face retribution. This is absolutely terrifying, and we have no reason to believe that the Republicans will stand up to him. They didn’t a few days ago, when he declared a fake national emergency in order to circumvent Congress, and there’s no reason to believe that they’d step in to protect the first amendment of our Constitution, which explicitly states, “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of the press.” I know, like me, you might be tempted to laugh it off as “Trump being Trump,” but with every court appointment he makes it becomes a little less likely that we’ll escape this chapter of American history unscathed.

OK, I could go on, but I’ve said it all before… Here, in evidence of that, is something I wrote just after the Capital Gazette shooting this past June.

This afternoon, a white male gunman outfitted with a shotgun and several smoke grenades, walked into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, and began firing. By the time he was taken into custody by the police, five people were dead, and many more were seriously injured. The man arrested by police has since been identified as Jarrod W. Ramos. From what little information is publicly available, it appears as though Ramos had filed an unsuccessful defamation case against the paper in 2012, after a story ran about his having been arrested for harassing a woman that he’d attended high school with several years previously.

While it’s unclear at this point whether or not the shooter may have been influenced by recent statements made by prominent Republicans about the press, it would appear from his twitter account that Ramos, at least on one occasion, sided with Donald Trump against the press. It would also appear that Ramos has a long history of projecting violence, referring to himself, among other things, as someone who is “making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.” [As an aside, one wonders how a man with a history of stalking, and a harassment conviction, was able to obtain a firearm. I guess we have the NRA to thank for that.]

While I suspect it’s unlikely that a definitive link can be proven, I think it’s worth noting that today’s murders happened just two days after white nationalist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was quoted in the Observer as saying, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” And, of course, all of this is happening against the backdrop of the Trump administration, where it’s not uncommon to see the President of the United States tweeting out messages to his rabid base referring to journalists as “the enemy of the American people.”

Whether or not the shooter was influenced by the heightened, violent rhetoric of the Trumpist right, I think would be impossible to argue that what we’re seeing from the administration it’s helpful. As journalist David Simon, who lost two friends in today’s shooting, just said, “Whatever resentments were in the shooter’s head, the US President stood ready to bolster and validate it.”

And maybe this is why, when asked about the today’s murders by members of the press, Donald Trump chose to ignore them and just keep walking. [Believe me, if it had been a Muslim terrorist, he would have offered an opinion.]

Oh, for what it’s worth, some seem to think today’s murders might be tied not to the rhetoric of the anti-free press right, but the “incivility” of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who, a few days ago, called for her fellow Americans to continue the nonviolent public harassment of Trump officials in public. Here’s a quote from Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity.

So, just to sum up… Two days ago, Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos was quoted in the Observer as saying, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” And, today, with five journalists having been murdered outside of DC, Sean Hannity had the audacity to blame not Yiannopoulos, or Donald Trump, who has referred to journalists as “enemies of the people,” but the incivility of Maxine Waters, who said that American citizens were within their rights to publicly challenge the Republicans responsible for separating infant immigrants from their families along the southern border. If you’re looking for an example to sum up the insanity of our times, this is it…

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42 Comments

  1. John Brown
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I know a reporter who a few years ago refused to express personal opinions about politics in any but the closest trusted circles outta strict respect for the code of ethics on objectivity. That’s changed. When you make existential attacks on someone don’t expect them to remain neutral towards you. The Right, perversely, then takes this as justification to crack down further.

    It’s analogous to the catch-22 of forming left-ish militias. Which is worse? Being defenseless, or presenting a threat that might justify your neutralization?

  2. Judd Legum by proxy
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Trump tweets, last 24 hrs:

    1. My deputy attorney general is a criminal

    2. I’m being targeted by an “illegal coup”

    3. The people investigating me should be jailed

    4. Television networks that air jokes about Republicans should face “retribution”

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    It is a comedy show. Why are Americans now this thin skinned?

    The Republican Party needs leaders, not babies.

  4. iRobert
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    You know, reporters have been dying in far greater numbers since the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Very few people seemed to take notice until this rediculous clown started announcing his hostilities toward them publicly.

  5. EOS
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has admitted that he met with at least 7 officials shortly after the Presidential election to see how they could remove Trump from office. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire to record Trump’s conversations in the Oval office.

    They polled Trump Cabinet members to see who would be on board to use the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office and found that at least two were on board to remove the newly elected President. McCabe, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok met with the FBI’s then-general counsel, James A. Baker to discuss the attempted coup tactic. Baker stopped them from going forward at that time.

    Days later, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the bureau’s investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. And to date, no one has been charged, nor has any evidence been revealed, that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials. The only guilty pleas have been for activities that had nothing to do with Trump or the campaign. Yet the MSM refuses to report the details of any of this.

    And what will you say when your kids ask what you did as the deep state destroyed our Republic and their hopes for a bright future?

  6. EOS
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    And don’t be so naïve to think the FBI/DOJ acted alone. Charges will be brought, the bastards will be held accountable, and change is gonna come.

  7. John Brown
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “Charges will be brought, the bastards will be held accountable, and change is gonna come.”

    Eos, agreed. Just not the way you think. I feel so sorry for the segment of the populus who fell for the schtick that proven pathological liar Agent Orange and his self described dirty tricksters like Roger Stone are the only ones telling the truth. Who is commanding the FBI? A cabal of baby eating pansexual vampires from the sub sub sub-basement of Comet Pizza Ping Pong? If only you could grasp how crazy your Q, Faux n Friends, Limbaugh deep state shit sounds to sane persons!

    Just today Stone instagramed the judge in his case with a batshit rant and rifle crosshairs. Ask yourself who’s telling the truth? The side using thuggery and intimidation, and threat of insurrection, or the side giving careful consideration to following Constitutional due process. You are going to need a truckload of Maalox for all the crow you’re going to be eating. But you’ll have a lot of company to help you eat it.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I am a longtime Republican voter and a Christian but Donald Trump and Roger Stone are so obviously the opposite of any of my ideals.

    I value free markets, a free press, constrained government and checks on power at all levels but that just isn’t what Donald Trump is about. We need real leaders in power, not power hungry, self interested hedonistic deviants.

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    How could a rigged and corrupt media be anything but an enemy of the people?

  10. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    To John Brown and others denigrating pizzagate: It’s not Alefantis but it is a blood soaked drag “performance” at Comet Ping Pong posted by one mssummercamp. Quite unusual for a “beloved neighborhood family institution,” wouldn’t you say?

    https://steemit.com/pizzagate/@azra/it-s-not-a-bloody-photo-of-james-alefantis

  11. Lynne
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    We can only hope that Americans will start to act in a moral and virtuous way and will protect our democracy in 2020 by voting this clown and the GOP members of congress who support him out of office.

  12. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I feel like we should all be able to agree that main stream media, most of twitter, most of facebook and most blogs are not oriented toward the truth at all. Lies and illusions are always going to be the enemy of the people. Failing to see that most media sources are garbage is evidence that a person is an idiot. What is so controversial about calling something fake “fake”?

    #becausehitlerusedthetermlugenpresse

  13. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Do you have any idea how much trouble your (Obama era) people are in for conspiring to remove the President of the United States of America?

    18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES.

    https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/USCODE-2010-title18/USCODE-2010-title18-partI-chap115/context

    Should be some interesting stuff. What is fascinating about this era is exactly what you have been calling for against the President is what is coming for your people but you still don’t know it.

  14. Lynne
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    What FF means is that most news sources but more importantly most sources of analysis of the news doesn’t fit his white male superiority “truth” and therefore he feels ok calling them “fake” but that is more a product of his point of view than anything else. He doesn’t seem to even understand the difference between what is supposed to be objective reporting of facts and analysis of those facts. It is true that many sources which claim to be straight reporting of facts interject some analysis inappropriately and that is a problem. However, failing to see that most media sources do analysis (hopefully based on facts) is not the most intelligent way to view things. Often such analysis is done in a comic way that resembles more objective news sources but most people are able to tell the difference. Calling such things “fake” is what is idiotic.

  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s crazy. You see eeeverything with white male superiority goggles on.

  16. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I am in trouble now. Lynne thinks I was calling into question the truthfulness of the daily show and Samantha Bee. That shit is sacred.

    In terms of your application of ideas, nothing you just said makes sense to me Lynne. I fail to differentiate between analysis and the collection of facts? Ok. What makes you say something so outlandish? What makes you say the reason I fail to make the distinction between a collection of facts and an analysis of those facts is because I am a male-white-superiority-truth-kinda-person? Is this just your way of saying I hate anything that does not confirm my Nazi worldview?

    Lynne makes a lousy word salad. The bullshit dressing does not make it taste any better.

  17. Lynne
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I know it seems that way but really the thing is that we live in a white supremacist patriarchy. Still that is my analysis of the facts for those who have trouble differentiating.

    Fact: 44/45 presidents have been white men
    Fact: White men make up about 31% of the population

    Analysis: This is because we live in a society that overvalues white men.

    So am I wrong and just viewing things through a lens of white male superiority? Maybe. But given the facts, I suspect that the real answer is that our white supremacist patriarchal culture has been so normalized for you that when anyone points out that things really aren’t fair in our society, you discount the point of view.

    Fact: HW said, “You see eeeverything with white male superiority goggles on.”
    Analysis: HW is weak and is threatened by women and POC gaining power in our culture.

  18. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    That’s an attitude not an analysis. You think just claiming someone is a white male supremacist means something. You use it as a cudgel but you are too clumsy to score a hit. Frosted Flakes’ posts have extensive reasoning. Reasoning leads to…analysis.

  19. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry Lynne but you don’t make any sense at all.

    What does 44/45 presidents have been white men have to do with your judgment that MSM is not full of falsity?

  20. John Brown
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Not going to agree on anything about the main stream media with FF. But I hope we can all agree that since the repeal of The Fairness Doctrine the right wing media had gone on an all out assault on the truth and turned into nothing but a Republican propaganda machine.

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    And lefty media has not? How dim can you be? Problem for you is I don’t hang my hat on what the media say but you do. Russian collusion?

  22. John Brown
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    There is no lefty advocacy media remotely equivalent to Hannity, Jones, piero, Coulter, faux friends, Limbaugh. Not even close. You’ll never make a believable argument otherwise.

    Everyone else, see what we’re up against with the blind ideological extremist on the right like hw and ff? I hope some of you center-left liberals took advantage of Dunham’s President-less Day sale. I recommend a 1-6x variable power scope for your new AR15. Don’t hesitate to spend as much on the scope as the rest of the rifle.

  23. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    You are insane. CNN? What the fuck is wrong with you? They get every single thing wrong.

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    “see what we’re up against with the blind ideological extremist on the right like hw and ff? I hope some of you center-left liberals took advantage of Dunham’s President-less Day sale. I recommend a 1-6x variable power scope for your new AR15.”

  25. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Your only saving grace here is no one takes you seriously. Not a credible threat.

  26. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Anyone care to weigh in on John Brown’s comment? Do you endorse this sentiment or do you think it is ill? I say the swallowed-by-the-abyss theory holds true. Someone who is obsessed with denigrating gun-toting Republicans making rash statements about people in our community who they disagree with being a good reason to get a gun.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    blah, blah, blah….

    Labels change. The Truth is always the Truth.

  28. John Brown
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Hw, I’m not telling people to get a gun. I’m telling them to equip and train to be an effective defense force for a community that happens to be an extremely high concentration of liberals and progressives. Keep that straight.

    Oh an CNN blah blah blah in new MM post. Doesn’t sound like liberal promoting propaganda to me.

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    “Oh an CNN blah blah blah in new MM post. Doesn’t sound like liberal promoting propaganda to me.”

    Oh, so hiring one person changes everything. Ok. I’m sure it will put a huge dent in the 99% negative coverage. Fox has anti-Trump people on every day.

    “I’m not telling people to get a gun.”

    I see: you are merely recommending upgrades because of people such as myself to guns you imagine center left people have already purchased. Damn, you must actually be terrified by me.

  30. John Brown
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t care less about you, except that your craziness helps make my case. There are, however, some very dangerous cops, former cops, military, former military, and all kinds of gunned up fascist wannabes who share your delusions.

  31. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Obviously you do care a lot. Why would you want people to arm themselves because of me if you weren’t scared shitless? It belies what you say about me. You are the crazy one.

  32. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    You’re afraid of me ’cause you think I’m malevolent
    When in my mind I am very benevolent
    I post news here for you
    To show truth from Q
    My greatest fear is to be irrelevant

  33. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Oh, is it BZ’s whipping boy still trying to prove he doesn’t represent THAT kind of white male? I thought I took care of you and your little bitch-ass campaign against me right away. Now take out the trash and wash your hands before holding the door.

  34. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I’m angry and I’ll give you a lickenin’
    But virtually because I’m a chickenin’
    To meet real John Brown
    In the center of town
    The thought of it is just sickenin’.

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I would be most congenial to engaging in mutual combat with you or John Brown. Out of chivalry I would accept a handicap and engage you both one after the other or even at the same time if you wish.

  36. Lynne
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    FF, I think y0u often confuse analysis with facts and claim that things are “fake news” because the analysis doesn’t line up perfectly with your world view.

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Lynne,

    If you repeat it 10 more times it still will not make it true.

    Your take is convenient. I don’t think you offer analysis I think you offer a narrative. Most of what I do here involves questioning narratives. I ask for evidence. I ask people to show where the logical connections in their arguments are. I ask people why they say the things they do. I ask for facts which support the narratives they are spinning.

    Here is what I think: When I ask you to give evidence for any of the bullshit you are talking about you don’t like it. You want to have a license to just spout off your narrative without being challenged. I am not confusing facts and analysis. You want your “analysis” to be beyond scrutiny. You don’t want to questioned. You want a safe space so you can express your narratives because your arguments are weak and they melt upon examination.

    Why are your narratives so weak? Because you express the narrative without regard to the facts and make some very mysterious connections. At times you even seem to make up facts to give the illusion that your narrative is supported by something. Other times you just avoid facts so that you can stick to your narrative WITHOUT THE HASSLE OF ANALYSIS and making logical connections.

    I will ask again: What does “44/45 presidents have been white men” have to do with your judgment that MSM is not full of falsity?

  38. Demetrius
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-enemy-people.html

  39. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Trump denied part of the Times report Tuesday, which said Trump asked then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker late last year to put the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, a Trump loyalist, in charge of the investigation into Michael Cohen after the attorney had already recused himself from the probe.

    “No, I don’t know who gave you that,” Trump said of asking Whitaker about the recusal.

  40. Lynne
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    FF, all I can say is that you have a much higher opinion of yourself than I do.

  41. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 20, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Why should anyone care about any of your judgments, Lynne?

  42. Julia Davis by proxy
    Posted February 26, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Breaking News: Igor Malashenko, co-founder of #Russia’s NTV, reported dead in Spain. NTV’s popular “Kukly” puppet show depicted Putin as an evil gnome. The show was shut down when NTV was taken over by the Kremlin in 2001.

    https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/1100084811216142339

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] « Putin, Trump, and the killing of journalists […]

  2. […] known of Hasson’s plot earlier this week, when he tweeted out that the press was the “THE ENEMY OFF THE PEOPLE,” and suggested that they face “retribution.” [Just think about that for a […]

  3. […] of Hasson’s plot earlier this week, when he again tweeted out that the press is the “THE ENEMY OFF THE PEOPLE,” and suggested that they face “retribution.” [Just think about that for a […]

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