While most of the prominent members of the Very Serious Washington media have spent the day clutching their pearls over anti-fascist protestors who demonstrated outside open white supremacist Tucker Carlson’s house and — the horror — rang his doorbell, the real threat to the media and free speech continues to be right-wing terrorists inspired by President Donald Trump.
A thirty-nine-year-old white man from Arkansas, Benjamin Craig Matthews, has been arrested and charged with five counts of terroristic threatening, nine misdemeanor counts of harassing communications and four misdemeanor counts of second-degree terroristic threatening by the Baxter County’s Sherrif’s office after making over 40 threatening calls and death threats to CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, specifically targeting African-American anchor Don Lemon.
In one call, he referenced Lemon’s “dead body hanging from a tree” and in another asked the operator to help him kill Lemon. In yet another call, he asked the operator for his call to be directed to “pipe bombs for Don Lemon.”
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He also made calls against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Trump’s attorney nemesis Michael Avenatti, the Washington Speakers Bureau and Planned Parenthood.
USA Today notes that “the affidavit noted Matthews’ alleged calls appeared to suggest a pattern of harassment based on certain political beliefs” — and you don’t have to be an analyst to figure out what those beliefs might be.
The president’s war against the media is largely to blame for the rise in violence and threats against journalists, as we saw from the recent attempted bombings of CNN’s headquarters by rabid Trump fan Cesar Sayoc.
In the past few weeks, the President has celebrated the beating of a journalist, whitewashed the murder of another journalist, and routinely accuses the media of lying and concocting false information in order to smear him and who incites violence against the media and labels them our “enemies.”
Thanks to him, death and rape threats against the media are now an everyday occurrence — and the ramifications couldn’t be more disturbing.