Trump Supporter’s T-Shirt Calls For Lynching Journalists – Why This Is A Problem

Last weekend, a Trump supporter wore a controversial t-shirt that speaks to a larger issue. Regardless if the business tycoon is elected as POTUS, the hateful rhetoric he’s incited against journalists shouldn't be ignored.

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

On more than one occasion, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has expressed disdain for journalists and reporters. At first, it was humorous. However, as he continued to label journalists like Megyn Kelly of FOX News and Katy Thur of NBC as “third-rate reporters” and lashed out against those seeking to document true happenings, his supporters began to adopt the attitude that the media, indeed, is “dishonest” and corrupt.

Earlier this year, Donald Trump mocked Katy Tur at one of his rallies when he mentioned that “the media” doesn’t objectively report on the size of his crowds. And just last week, he said to the crowd at a Miami rally:

“These people are among the most dishonest people I’ve ever met, spoken to, done business with. These are the most dishonest people. There has never been dishonesty, there has never been dishonesty like we’ve seen in this election. There’s never been anywhere near the media dishonesty like we’ve seen in this election. Don’t worry. They won’t spin the cameras and show the kind of massive crowds. They won’t do that.” 

The hate Donald Trump has incited against journalists and members of the press has escalated in recent months. Members of the media have been booed, jeered at, and even verbally abused by supporters of the business tycoon at his rallies. And in February, a photographer was choke-slammed by a member of the Secret Service.

In statements and from the stage, Trump has encouraged the crowd to call the media “liars,” “biased,” “crooked,” and “rigged.” (The irony is that the world only knows of these happenings because the press reports on them, as Anna Merlan of Jezebel points out.)

What seems obvious is that proponents of Donald Trump have begun to adopt his hateful rhetoric. In previous months, one man chanted “Jew S.A.!” at reporters, calling them “the enemy”. And at last week’s rally, a Trump supporter began yelling that Katy Tur is a “whore” after Trump, once again, commented on her ‘biased’ reporting.

Additionally, a man at a Trump rally in Minneapolis that past weekend was photographed wearing a shirt that read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” Photographed by  Reuters’ Jonathan Ernst at a rally in a cargo hangar at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport, the image has sparked plenty of outrage.

The meme has been around since 2007, but only recently became popular with Trump supporters because of the many statements he’s made against the press. This is an issue, as it’s becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists and reporters to do their jobs – and well, considering 6 corporations control the bulk of all corporate media.

Activists who dare brave the front-lines of controversial events, such as the Standing Rock protests, place themselves in considerable danger. For example, activist and commentator Erin Schrode was shot with a rubber bullet by police while doing an on-camera interview at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) last week. And, according to a former ABC foreign correspondent, it’s possibly just as dangerous for a reporter to visit a Trump rally as it is to serve as a war correspondent. In an opinion piece for the Denver Post, Greg Dobbs wrote:

“You can simply say, “Man up,” but let me tell you about those beatings I suffered overseas. They didn’t start with a punch. They started with taunts. Which turned into shouts. Which evolved into pushing. Which morphed into punching.”

He summarizes:

“If not for the journalists who cover Trump, then for yourself, because if you treasure freedom of the press, you need to realize, he’s putting it in jeopardy. Whether ultimately any reporters get hurt covering his campaign, the free flow of information is taking a hit. If we do things Trump’s way, America could look more like those Third World countries where, because I was a journalist, I got chased, and shot at and beaten.”

Donald Trump, through his behavior and statements, has made it ‘acceptable’ to hate and lash out at minorities, people with disabilities, and even journalists. If anything will ‘make America great again’ (if one believes that it isn’t, in fact, already an accomplished country), it won’t be violence against those seeking to expose the truth.

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