Members of the establishment media reacted in horror after President Donald Trump criticized them again during a rally in Phoenix in the wake of the violent Charlottesville protests.
Axios founder Jim VandeHei sent a series of distressed messages on Twitter early Wednesday morning after Trump called the media “bad people” and “sick people” who “don’t like our country.”
To family/friends who support Trump: what he said last night about reporters was despicable, extremely deceptive, dangerous. Claim bias. Fine. Claim elitism. Fine. Claim the press hyperventilates/bloviates. Fine. But to say reporters erase America’s heritage, don’t love America, turn off cameras to hide truth, are to blame for racial tension, is just plain wrong. I worked w/ reporters like Daniel Pearl who died a gruesome death seeking truth; scores die yearly exposing facts. There are great Americans deeply concerned about a changing nation. God forbid one buys Trump’s mad rant and takes action..
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd also expressed worry that journalist’s lives were in danger.
“Whether POTUS means it or not, I don’t know, but this could motivate a crazy,” he said on Twitter. “Dangerous rhetoric. Sad how few elected officials condemn it.”
“Who will Donald Trump blame when a journalist gets severely injured or worse by someone acting in his name?” wrote Tom Namako of Buzzfeed. “’Fake news?’”
“I’ve worked as reporter in China; during riots/protests in Seoul, Rangoon, Manila; civil rights demos in Miss/AL,” wrote the Atlantic’s James Fallows. “Hadn’t seen this.”
“This was incitement, plain and simple,” said ABC’s Cecilia Vega on ABC’s Good Morning America. “This was an assault that went on and on and on, I’ve got to tell you … this one felt different, it really feels like a matter of time, frankly, before someone gets hurt.”
CNN reporters also signaled their distress, after Trump supporters roared “CNN Sucks!” during the rally.
“The attacks from the most powerful office in the world are fundamentally dangerous,” CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto wrote.
“This is why I keep calling the president’s words ‘poison,’ CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote. “His attacks seep into the country’s bloodstream.”
“That is dangerous rhetoric. It just is. It is dangerous. Something is going to happen,” a distraught CNN reporter Chris Cillizza said on-air. “You cannot vilify the media like this. I know I’m a reporter, but you cannot do this with any profession and expect no consequences.”
CNN political analyst Peter Mathews said Trump’s rhetoric as “dangerous,” comparing it to same rhetoric that Hitler used in Nazi Germany.
“That is going back to not just McCarthyism, but perhaps worse, even toward fascism or something like what was going in Germany before Hitler and when he was holding on to power,” Mathews said.
Murray warned that some of Trump’s supporters “treat Trump’s ‘fake news’ diatribes seriously,” and “harass reporters and photographers.”