Angry Trump supporter attacks BBC cameraman: “F**k the Media!” – Does Trump incite violence and hatred?

Published by Dylan Rana on

The BBC says one of its cameramen was attacked by supporters at a recent Trump rally in El Paso, Texas. In a statement, the BBC said the photojournalist, Ron Skeans was “violently pushed by a member of the crowd”

Eleanor Montague, the BBC’s Washington News Editor, tweeted that the El Paso crowd had been “whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night.”

In a video, released by the BBC, the Trump supporter can be seen wearing a red MAGA cap, shouting “Fuck the Media” violent whilst being restrained by bystanders in the barricaded media pen onlooking the event.

The president went to El Paso, on the US border with Mexico to campaign for a border wall. Prior the assault, the president had criticised the “fake news” media, commenting how it misrepresented him. The man, who appeared drunk, almost knocked the cameraman and his camera over twice before he was wrestled away by a blogger, according to Mr Skeans.

Trump was rallying in El Paso to push for border wall, which was shot down by Congress – leading to a shutdown of Government over budget disputes.

The BBC also revealed in their statement that Mr Skeans was “fine”.

Trump rhetoric is “strategic” say UN analysts

The attack has sparked concern from many in the Washington press community, with parallels being drawn with similar outbursts towards the media in past Trump demonstrations.

CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta tweeted a video last year showing Trump supporters hurling verbal abuse at journalists at a similar Trump rally, shouting “fuck the media”. In the tweet, Acosta expressed concerns that “the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. “

The CNN journalist famously clashed with President Trump during a press briefing, Trump calling him a “rude, terrible person” during an exchange where Acosta criticised Trump’s referral of a South American migrant ‘caravan’ influx as an “invasion”, prompting the President to urge Acosta to “let me run the country and you run CNN”, throwing a jibe at Costa not doing a “good job” as “ratings were down.”

Last August, United Nations analysts David Kaye and Edison Lanza of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights warned Donald Trump’s attacks against the media raise the risk of violence towards journalists.  The analysts said the attacks were “strategic” and said they undermined press freedom and “verifiable facts”.

The infamous Stalinist remark: “The Enemy of the People”

Trump makes defiance against, what he refers to as, the “corrupt” media: “fake news”, “enemies of the people”. Kaye and Lanza’s statement said these attacks “increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence”, suggesting Trump’s goal was to “undermine confidence in reporting”.

When quizzed on Trump’s accusations of the media as the “enemy of the people” by Jim Acosta, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders blamed the media for “frequently lowering the level of conversation in this country, repeatedly resorting to personal attacks with without any content other than to incite anger.”

Trump’s remarks of the media as “enemy of the people” echoes the rhetoric of past tyrants, including Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Speaking in a Senate hearing, Republican Senator Jeff Flake expressed his concern that President Trump “uses words infamously used by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies.” In earlier times – notably Stalin and Mao’s communist reigns, the words “enemy of the people” would mean certain death. The Senator claimed Trump’s rhetoric “is a testament to the condition of our democracy”.

Does Trump incite violence and hatred?

Does Trump incite hatred? Yes, of course he does. His election campaign used the discontent and anger built up inside of many Americans and used this to target hatred towards his political enemies.

His almost childish nicknames coined for his opponents: “crooked Hillary”, “little rocket man” are perfectly designed to be repeated, remembered and then regurgitated at a moment’s notice. Any video seen of outrage by Trump supporters will surely present the most basic taglines of hatred towards the “fake media”, at rhetoric of the “wall” being built to keep the criminals out, the Mexicans, the “bad hombres”.

These taglines work. They’re what led Trump into office, what excited non-voters. Election taglines persist today, the “Make America Great Again” caps and apparel are massive part of the Trump supporter image. When’s the last time you saw a Tory supporter sport a “strong and stable” hat?

But, the issue with the sensationalised hyperbole is that it vilifies Trump’s opponents – and none so more than the media.

Trump tweeted a video of himself a decade or so earlier in a WWE match, punching a man to the floor in a clearly staged exchange. Nothing wrong with that? In this video, the man whom Trump pounced on has the CNN logo superimposed on his face. At the time, the media community were outraged by this, seeing it as an invitation for violence against journalists.

“It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters,” CNN said in a statement. “Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”

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