Accuracy in Media

On Thursday, the Washington Post blamed President Trump and his “rhetoric” for the pipe bombs sent to various Democratic leaders, networks and other critics.

“In the home stretch of the fall campaign, President Trump has called Democrats ‘evil’ and argued that they are ‘too dangerous to govern.’ He has denounced Barack Obama’s presidency and demonized former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, inspiring chants of ‘Lock her up!’ at his rallies,” Philip Rucker’s Washington Post story, headlined, “Amid incendiary rhetoric, targets of Trump’s words become targets of bombs,” said.

“The president also has used his bully pulpit to taunt Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) as a ‘low I.Q. individual,’ impugn former CIA director John Brennan and fan conspiracy theories about liberal philanthropist George Soros. And he has called the news media ‘the enemy of the people,’ singling out CNN’s reporting as ‘fake news.’

“This week, these targets of Trump’s rhetoric became the intended targets of actual violence in the form of pipe bombs, many of which turned up Wednesday.”

Investigators have not determined who did it, and “no evidence has surfaced connecting the acts to any political campaign. Still, a common theme among the targets was unmistakable: Each has been a recurring subject of Trump’s attacks.”

Trump and other Republican leaders dutifully decried the attacks on Wednesday, Rucker wrote. But “for many politicians, the day was a reckoning – a sobering pause just 13 days from Election Day to reflect on a political atmosphere notable for apocalyptic imagery and violent confrontations.”

This day of reckoning resulted from Trump’s rhetoric, Rucker wrote. “Trump again shirked responsibility for his own inflammatory contributions to the political discourse and instead assigned blame to others,” he wrote. Then, a paragraph later” “The president, who has made a sport out of mocking his political rivals with nicknames like ‘Crooked Hillary,’ also exhorted others in the political arena to ‘stop treating their opponents as morally defective.’”

Rucker quoted Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who bowed out of the race for his re-election earlier this year because his anti-Trump diatribes had caused his fundraising to dry up, saying: “What the president says matters, and if he were to take a more civil tone, it would make a difference.

Civility can’t wait until after an election. The president shouldn’t refer to the press as the ‘enemy of the people.’ People hear that and they follow it.”

He then quoted Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN, saying the White House “has ‘a total and complete lack of understanding’ about the consequences of their attacks on the media. The president and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”

NBC News headlined its story: “Trump lectures critics, media on civility after pipe bombs sent to high-profile Democrats.” The story, by Jonathan Allen, characterized a number of seemingly nonpartisan things Trump said as anti-Democrat.

“Trump said he wanted Americans to ‘come together in peace and harmony,’” wrote Allen. “Then, without naming a party, he pivoted to condemning Democrats.

“Americans ‘should stop treating political opponents as morally defective,’ not ‘compare political opponents to historical villains’ and ‘not mob people in public.’”

At Huffington Post, under “Donald Trump Criticizes Media Just Hours After Pipe Bomb Scare,” reporter Carla Herreria said the president “has constantly bashed the news media … going as far as promoting violence against journalists on social media and during his rallies.”

The president “failed to acknowledge … attacks on the media and fellow lawmakers during Wednesday’s rally, instead calling on others in the political arena to ‘stop treating political opponents as being morally defective.’”

In CNN’s update, the final subhead reads: “Trump blamed his opponents.” “Trump pointed the finger at his opponents and the news media for the turbulent national political environment,” it wrote. “…He said it’s the news media’s responsibility to set the national political tone. Then he resumed his attacks on Democrats, including one falsely claiming they are allowing immigrants to enter the country illegally.”

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