Opinion

Cawley: We’re the enemy? Really?

The president of the United States continues to puts the lives of journalists in danger with his anti-media rhetoric, which seems to have heightened lately.

President Donald Trump has consistently referred to any news coverage he disagrees with as “Fake News,” without any evidence that the information is not factual. He has also taken to referring to journalists themselves and certain media outlets as “Fake News,” something that has become an obsession for him.

He seems to be engaged in a reality where it’s him as the hero taking on the “enemy of the American people,” a phrase he’s recently taken on to describe the media.

If Trump was any other person, the rhetoric would not be as dangerous. But whether or not he wants to accept the full responsibility of his role, he is the president of the United States, and his words carry more weight and have more of an impact on people, especially those who may not be very informed about politics.

On Sunday, he basically incited violence against the media via his personal Twitter account, his preferred method of communication.

“The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s true,” Trump tweeted. “I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American people. They purposely cause great division and distrust. They can also cause war. They are very dangerous and sick.”

If that doesn’t sound like a rallying cry against a specific group of people, I’m not sure how else it can be interpreted.

Just days prior, he was revving a crowd up against the media at a rally in Pennsylvania, calling the reporters present “fake, fake disgusting news,” who can make anything bad, causing his supporters to boo and jeer at each insult aimed at the media.

It’s not clear whether he realizes what he’s doing, or what impact his words are having. Maybe he does, and just doesn’t care.  

The latter might be the more likely explanation as he reacted to a June 28 newsroom shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland, which killed five people, by unleashing a further attack on the media a week later at a rally in Montana — rather than choosing to tone down his rhetoric.

When faced with a clear example of the violence anti-media rhetoric could lead to, Trump instead chooses to ramp it up even more.

Maybe for the majority of Trump’s supporters, they just view the rallying cries and anti-media rhetoric as entertainment.

But it’s not too much of a stretch to think there could be those few people who choose to act on those words and try to take it upon themselves to deliver violence against and eliminate some of the “the enemies of the American people,” as identified by their president.

Then what happens? Unfortunately, with the way this presidency has played out, probably just more tweeting, without any accountability or responsibility.

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