President Donald Trump points to a member of the media while speaking in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais).
The president isn’t a fan of the media.
To a certain extent, this is understandable. But despite any frustration that he has with its members, they are not the enemy of the American people. Thankfully, some in his own administration find it inappropriate to label them our evil adversaries.
During a recent speech at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York recently, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley shared this truth.
“In America, our political opponents are not evil,” she said, highlighting atrocities committed against political opponents in Syria and Sudan as examples of true evil permeating the world of politics.
“In South Sudan, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war, that is evil,” she said. “In Syria, where the dictator uses chemicals weapons to murder innocent children, that is evil. In North Korea, where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured to death, that was evil.”
We certainly may disagree with those who are opposite of us on the ideological spectrum, but they are not evil and they are not the enemies of the American people. During a time when the media goes too far, President Trump often makes thing worse. Instead of keeping his mouth shut and rising above the fray, he lowers himself and instead prefers to act very much like them.
There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
To the president, anything but Fox News is the “fake news media.” Most of the time, Fox News does his cheerleading without any shred of necessary criticism. This is just as partisan as those outlets who never praise him when he does good. To the president, questioning him in any sort of substantial way makes someone incorrect. This is a foolish, self-centered litmus test. It’s also how the 45th president operates.
On Friday, Trump said the following.
“The fake news is creating violence,” POTUS says. “If the media…would write accurately,…you’d have a lot less violence in the country.
Like the media, the president and his many uncritical supporters are partly to blame for the divisive rhetoric that is spewed forth on a daily basis. There is no doubt that at times, the GOP does not help calm the toxic political environment. Obviously, the media and its uncritical supporters are also to blame for the same. As I previously wrote, the poisonous dialogue is a product of more than one political persuasion.
However, neither the media nor President Trump is the cause of violence.
That responsibility rests solely upon the shoulders of James Hodgkinson, who shot Representative Steven Scalise and others in June 2017, and Robert Bowers, who killed eleven innocent members at the Tree of Life synagogue last Saturday. (A similar fault also rests on Cesar Sayoc, the would-be mail bomber who sent packages to Democratic politicians and even a news outlet.)
These individuals actually carried out or sought to create violence.
Jonah Goldberg over at National Review summed things up nicely in his piece entitled The Pittsburgh Massacre Wasn’t Trump’s Fault, but He’s Not Helping.
Amid the mail-bomb scare last week Trump tweeted about how unfair it is that CNN can criticize him “yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘It’s just not Presidential!’” The false equivalence is lost on him and on his biggest defenders. CNN isn’t the president. It’s in a different lane. And while some of its coverage is worthy of criticism, it isn’t — or shouldn’t be — a warrant for Trump to leave his lane.
I don’t think Trump deliberately encouraged the slaughter in Pittsburgh. But every day he fuels a sense of chaos, a feeling that none of the norms or rules apply anymore. And that is bad enough. It certainly isn’t helping. The president is supposed to at least try.
I certainly wish President Donald Trump would do his part to tone down the volatility in these divided United States. As the leader of our nation, he could do much to address the issues of responsibility with common sense and calmness. A measured demeanor would go far and would strike a contrast against some of his detractors who claim it is he who incites violence.
Mr. President, please don’t be careless with your own words. You may not like the media, but – as always – no one creates violence but the actual criminal.