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The Atlantic Ties Extremism to Trump Despite Clear Facts

Journalist Charles Duhigg writes in a longform piece in The Atlantic [1] about the cause and effects of anger.

While Duhigg is somewhat more balanced toward President Trump than many of his mainstream media colleagues, he fails to report full context about the extremists who perpetrated criminal behavior last year.

Writing about the decline in America’s social trust, Duhigg gives credence to common anti-Trump media tropes that seek to divide rather than provide an accurate portrayal of the president’s positions.

“It’s tempting to lay the blame for this devolution at the feet of the current president,” Duhig writes. “Trump has vilified Democrats, immigrants, the media, the left-leaning philanthropist George Soros. This fall, we witnessed the real-world effects of such bellicose rhetoric: Pipe bombs were mailed to Soros and several other prominent Democrats, and a shooting in Pittsburgh left 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue dead. Both accused assailants engaged in hateful online speech before undertaking their horrific acts.

“Those attacks were perpetrated by violent extremists. But on both the left and the right, a visceral disdain for one’s political opponents has become common, as have feelings of schadenfreude when the other side suffers a setback. In 2012, political scientists at Emory University found that fewer than half of voters said they were deeply angry at the other party’s presidential nominee. In 2016, almost 70 percent of Americans were.”

Yet Duhigg fails to mention that the alleged would-be pipe bomber had a criminal history well before Trump even declared his presidential candidacy in 2015.

Duhigg also fails to mention as James Robbins points out [2]that the alleged Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert “Bowers was explicit in his dislike of the president, saying he did not vote for him and had never ‘owned, worn or even touched [3]’ a Make America Great Again hat. Challenging the news media narrative that Trump praised Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Bowers agreed with another extremist that the president had ‘betrayed’ right-wing radical protesters by “comparing them with a violent mob [4].”