Lemon: Trump's rallies not the reality

CNN's Don Lemon says President Donald Trump's rallies are much different than the real world.

Posted: Oct 21, 2018 10:48 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2018 11:20 PM

For a man with too much to say about too many things, President Donald Trump has maintained atypical restraint in the 17 days since since the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul and was presumably murdered inside it by agents of the regime.

The president groundlessly asserted that "rogue killers" could have committed the crime. Then he retreated even farther to plead that the de facto Saudi dictator, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, should not be undeservedly suspected in the apparent assassination of a prominent political opponent.

All the president's evasiveness has set off speculation about what conflicted interests might explain it -- Trump's longtime business dealings with wealthy Saudis, his brokering a major arms deal with Riyadh for American defense contractors, bin Salman's importance to American efforts to isolate and confront Iran.

Valid as those theories seem, they omit one other obvious reason for President Trump's striking indifference to the likely slaying of a journalist who was, after all, a resident of the United States for the past several years and a regular columnist for the Washington Post. Quite simply, if a government indeed killed a bothersome journalist, then that action is just the logical, if ghastly, extension of Trump's campaign to vilify and endanger journalists in the United States.

During both his campaign and his White House reign, President Trump has referred to journalists as "disgusting," "crooked," "dangerous," and, most significantly, as "the enemy of the American people." That phrase, closely echoing Josef Stalin's, all but invites the Stalinist solution to such treason: perhaps the show trial, perhaps the Gulag cell, perhaps the executioner's bullet.

With his deviously brilliant demagoguery, President Trump has never explicitly called for the death of American journalists, but he has consistently incited the mobs at his rallies against working journalists, sometimes by name. In her memoir of covering the Trump campaign, "Unbelievable," Katy Tur of NBC recounts Trump pointing out her location to a hostile crowd at a Virginia rally.

"She's back there, little Katy," Tur writes in the book. "She's back there. What a lie it was."

Ostensibly, then-candidate Trump was complaining about a broadcast he considered inaccurate. But no sensate person could miss the mortal threat in his words. Indeed, Secret Service agents walked Tur back to her car after the rally to ensure her safety. At Trump speeches and rallies, journalists are penned in by metal barriers, making them easy prey for heckling and ridicule. Individual correspondents such as April Ryan of the Urban Radio Network, Geoff Bennett of NBC, and Tara Palmeri of ABC have either hired bodyguards at their own expense or received security from their news organization.

Thursday night ,Trump hailed Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte for having body-slammed a reporter -- a crime for which the politician was fined and punished -- during a special election in 2017.

While the fatal shooting last summer of five employees, including four journalists, on the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., had no known roots in Trump's rhetoric, other news organizations have received credible threats that do cite or evoke the presidential hatred.

There is nothing new about political leaders in the United States fuming against journalists for their critical coverage. During his presidency, Richard Nixon put several journalists on his so-called "enemies' list" and dispatched his vice-president, Spiro Agnew, to denounce the news media as "nattering nabobs of negativism."

Nor, sadly, is it unprecedented for an American journalist to be lethally attacked. Just to cite one especially notorious example, Don Bolles, an investigative reporter for the Arizona Republic, was assassinated with a car bomb in 1976.

But even at his most paranoid, Nixon never solicited violence against journalists. And the murder of Bolles, though never fully solved, is widely believed to have been committed by organized crime figures, the target of his reporting.

No, the Trump era has brought a new level of menace, intimidation, and treachery into the mainstream. The Committee to Protect Journalists, sensing the change during the 2016 campaign, began tracking threats and attacks against American journalists soon after Trump took office. Prior to then, the organization was understandably focused on the risks to journalists in unfree nations abroad.

In the old-fashioned world, meaning the one before the Trump presidency, Americans would be right to worry that his feeble response to Jamal Khashoggi's death would embolden autocratic governments or their complicit vigilantes around the world to take similarly brazen action against journalists. And, yes, we should worry about that.

In our upside-down present, however, the concern also holds right here at home, where the president in the MAGA hat defiles the First Amendment, and practitioners of a free press feel ever more the peril that ultimately swallowed up Jamal Khashoggi.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 26980

Reported Deaths: 1159
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin9099657
Ramsey3351149
Stearns205614
Nobles15775
Anoka152779
Dakota144664
Washington70035
Olmsted68911
Rice5243
Kandiyohi5141
Scott4712
Clay44930
Mower4462
Wright3492
Todd3441
Sherburne2492
Carver2402
Benton1853
Steele1700
Freeborn1590
Blue Earth1490
Martin1355
St. Louis11914
Lyon1012
Unassigned9611
Pine930
Nicollet8811
Cottonwood820
Winona8115
Crow Wing815
Watonwan790
Carlton750
Goodhue736
Otter Tail731
Chisago691
Polk632
Itasca5610
Dodge540
Chippewa521
Morrison480
Le Sueur471
Douglas460
Meeker460
Becker440
Jackson420
Murray410
McLeod410
Isanti360
Pennington300
Waseca290
Mille Lacs241
Rock230
Faribault220
Wabasha200
Swift191
Beltrami180
Sibley170
Brown172
Fillmore171
Norman150
Pipestone130
Kanabec121
Aitkin120
Marshall120
Cass112
Big Stone110
Wilkin113
Wadena100
Pope100
Koochiching90
Redwood70
Yellow Medicine70
Renville70
Mahnomen61
Lincoln60
Red Lake40
Traverse40
Grant40
Clearwater30
Houston30
Hubbard30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Stevens10
Lake10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21114

Reported Deaths: 593
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4614140
Woodbury286137
Black Hawk178849
Buena Vista10672
Linn97879
Dallas95226
Marshall91418
Wapello63615
Johnson6198
Muscatine56741
Crawford5512
Tama41129
Scott38510
Dubuque35921
Louisa35011
Pottawattamie31910
Sioux3060
Jasper26917
Wright2210
Washington1968
Warren1671
Plymouth1522
Story1311
Allamakee1204
Mahaska9913
Poweshiek928
Hamilton760
Webster741
Henry732
Boone720
Bremer716
Clarke690
Des Moines681
Taylor660
Clinton651
Guthrie553
Cedar501
Benton431
Cherokee410
Monroe415
Jones370
Shelby370
Osceola360
Jefferson360
Marion350
Dickinson350
Buchanan341
Iowa340
Clayton343
Cerro Gordo331
Madison292
Lee290
Sac280
Davis280
Emmet270
Fayette270
Clay270
Monona260
Harrison260
Hardin240
Lyon240
Winneshiek240
Lucas222
Mills200
Grundy200
Franklin200
Humboldt201
Pocahontas200
Delaware191
Floyd191
Hancock180
Appanoose173
Butler161
Kossuth160
Carroll151
Ida150
Greene150
Keokuk140
Jackson140
Page140
Audubon131
Cass130
Chickasaw130
Howard120
Winnebago110
Calhoun100
Union100
Van Buren90
Adair90
Montgomery92
Adams70
Palo Alto70
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Worth30
Unassigned20
Wayne10
Decatur10
Rochester
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Mason City
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Albert Lea
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 78°
Austin
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
Weekend looks nice
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Chris' PM Weather Forecast 6/5

Image

Gyms, fitness centers set to reopen

Image

Easing restrictions for MN restaurants and gyms

Image

Charles City vigil for George Floyd

Image

Hawkeye Harvest Foodbank partnership

Image

Next phase of Minnesota reopening

Image

Rental Assistance program for Rochester

Image

IA Care Homes Could Reopen to Visitors

Image

'Color Me Mine' Location Closes for Good

Image

Getting Your Fair Food Fix During the Pandemic

Community Events