President Trump is at fault for the shooting at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper that left five dead, according to several outlets, because he talks about fake news and accuses the media of being an enemy of the people.
Trump offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims in a tweet but refused to answer questions about the incident shouted at him as he walked to the White House helicopter pad on Friday.
“Can you please talk to us about the dead reporters in Annapolis? Do you have any words of condolence for the families, Mr. President?” asked one reporter. “Why are you walking away?” asked another.
Josh Meyer, senior investigations reporter for Politico, tweeted in response: “Every journalist, and those who support us, should retweet this. I can’t think of a single other President in my lifetime who would have acted like this. Perhaps he fears questions about whether his anti-media rhetoric played a role.”
“The killings have prompted renewed scrutiny of the president’s frequent verbal attacks on the media, which he has repeatedly referred to as ‘the enemy of the people,’” wrote the Independent.
“Less than 24 hours before the newsroom massacre, crowds booed the media at a rally in North Dakota after Mr. Trump suggested they covered him unfairly. Two days earlier, the president pointed towards journalists at a rally in South Carolina and called him, ‘the enemy of the people.’”
The White House press corps may not like having a president who stands up to its hectoring, but there is no evidence anything Trump said about the media had any impact on the alleged killer.
Jarrod Ramos, 38, who is accused of the deadliest attack on a newsroom in decades, lost a defamation case against the paper in 2015 over a column that ran in 2011 that provided an account of Ramos’ guilty plea to criminal harassment of a woman over social media, according to the Washington Post.
The article described how he harassed a former classmate at Arundel High School, first on Facebook and then through emails. It described how the woman had been stalked and perhaps lost her job over the incidents.
Ramos had a “long-standing grievance” with the Gazette and had filed a series of lawsuits against the paper and “lost them all,” according to Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. Police responded to an incident at the paper in 2013, but newspaper officials decided not to press the case to avoid exacerbating the situation.
His deputy police chief called it a “targeted attack on the Capital Gazette.”
That didn’t stop reporters from taking to Twitter to deliver a cheap shot.
“On this horrific day, let’s establish that journalists are not ‘the enemy of the American people,’ as President Trump has tweeted. Thinking of our colleagues at #CapitalGazette,” tweeted Melissa Block, a special correspondent for National Public Radio.
“Let’s establish on this day to wait for facts until we immediately blame the President,” responded another Twitter user.
Deadline Hollywood ran a story on David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun reporter who was the showrunner for The Wire, a long-running HBO series about drug dealing, and what it called his epic Twitter tweetstorm.”
“Blood today in an American newsroom,” Simon tweeted. “Aren’t you proud, you vile, fascist son of a b—.”
In another, Simon wrote: “FACTS: Whatever was in the shooter’s head, the US President stood ready to bolster and validate it. We know this. It is on the record. The US President chose to declare to citizens of the republic that journalists of a free press were ‘enemies of the people.’”
Trump was not the only person blamed for the shooting. Sean Hannity blamed the incendiary rhetoric of Rep. Maxine Walters, D-Calif., who has called for Trump’s cabinet members to be harassed anytime they are seen in public.
“I’ve been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine?”
Something horrible did happen, but it didn’t involve her either.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Accuracy in Media