Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Brian Stelter aired a clip of a C-SPAN caller threatening to shoot him and fellow network anchor Don Lemon and reacted to it.
Stelter said, “Attacks on the media are having an effect. Threats against reporters are on the rise. But instead of me telling you that, I want you to hear it for yourself. On Friday a caller to C-SPAN said he’s going to shoot me and Don Lemon if he sees us. Let me preface this by saying I’m not asking for sympathy. I don’t think I’m in extreme danger. I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team, and we know how to handle this stuff. This problem is not confined to CNN. People at Fox News and other outlets have to deal with this garbage too. But these kinds of threats are coming in more often. So take a listen. Here’s the phone call.”
The caller said, “It all started when Trump got elected. Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump supporters all racists. They don’t even know us. They don’t even know these Americans out here, and they are calling us racists because we voted for Trump? Come on give me a break. They started the war. I see them, I’m going to shoot them.”
Stelter continued, “He says we started a war and if he sees us, he’s going to shoot us. So where did the caller get the impression that I called all Trump supporters racist? I don’t know. But I do know the night before on Fox Sean Hannity played a two-year-old clip of me asking if racial anxiety was a factor in his rise. Researchers have proven racial anxiety and resentment was a factor. I don’t know if the C-SPAN caller watched Hannity, not blaming Hannity. I thought the timing was odd. Friday’s threatening phone call on C-SPAN is a tiny illustration of the threats that are out there. Many journalists who cover politics say they are receiving more and more threats nowadays in the Trump era.”
He added, “Bret Stephens wrote in The New York Times on Saturday, ‘Journalists are concerned we’re approaching a day when blood on the newsroom floor will be blood on the president’s hands.’ I hope he is wrong. I’m sorry to end on a somber note today.”
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