Lord Trump, the master fearmonger
Donald Trump shows a blatant disregard and disdain for the press, presenting a worrying premonition of the future
May 17, 2016
In what has become a disturbing trend, New York police arrested more than two dozen at a rally protesting presidential GOP candidate Donald Trump on the night April 14, including two of independant news program Democracy Now!’s reporters.
Charina Nadura and Juan Carlos Dávila were filming the protests when police officers began making arrests. The two identified themselves as press, but were still arrested by officers and had their equipment taken from them. Dávila even sustained injury: “They threw me to the ground. They slammed my head against the pavement. And they twisted my arm. And, I mean, my wrists are red. Part of them are bleeding.”
It’s no secret that rallies and protests surrounding this year’s elections have been some of the most violent in the nation’s recent history, an atmosphere in no small part created by the GOP front-runner himself. It wouldn’t be surprising that he has supporters among the police. After all, he was endorsed by New York Veteran Police Association and New England Police Benevolent Association.
Just last month, Sopan Deb, a campaign embed, was arrested and charged for resisting arrest, despite video evidence showing no resistance. Deb often found himself harassed at Trump events due to his Indian ethnicity, even, according to him, one Trump supporter telling him to “Go back to Iraq!”
Only days before that, Michelle Fields, a Breitbart reporter, had alleged that she was grabbed and bruised by Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, leading to charges of simple battery against him. However, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg filed court documents saying that his office would not prosecute Lewandowski, and "the evidence cannot prove all legally required elements of the crime alleged and is insufficient to support a criminal prosecution."
And a week before that, Chris Morris, a veteran White House photographer on assignment from TIME was choke slammed by a Secret Service agent after stepping out of the “press pen” to photograph a Black Lives Matter protest that had interrupted one of Trump’s speeches at Radford University in Virginia.
Though remorseful for his part in escalating the conflict (cursing at the agent and kicking him after being chokeslammed), all these disproportionately violent conflicts with press makes for a worrying pattern, and for fearful visions of the future.
Most other presidential campaigns, Trump has a strict policy requiring press members such as reporters and photographers to stay inside a gated area, like a sideshow to a carnival. And if the comparison sounds unfair, it’s worth noting that Trump often singles out press for ridicule and mockery.
He has referred to the media as “the most dishonest people,” and “scum,” all the while encouraging his supporters to boo and heckle reporters while they're stuck in their designated areas, unable to really engage.
It’s clear the candidate has an agenda against members of the press, and the reason why is an easy answer: he fears them. Though far from infallible, throughout American history the news media have been the whistleblowers on corrupt politics and crooked campaigners. Trump does not want people questioning him, he wants absolute loyalty from a rabid, uninformed public. He does not have faith in the people, because he knows that if they are informed, they will see through all his bluster and big talk. He does not want the media to be trusted.
Think carefully: would the man who doesn’t even trust his own supporters be a good candidate? Is supporting someone who so clearly hates the idea of a free press and an informed public a good idea?
November is inching closer. Choose wisely.