President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order establishing regulatory reform officers and task forces in US agencies in Washington, DC on February 24, 2017.
Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Trump blames news organizations for ‘anger’ in American society


Americans learned yesterday about pipe bombs that were sent to prominent Democratic officials and a major American news organization, and by midday, the public heard Donald Trump briefly address the developments. “I just want to tell you that in these times, we have to unify,” the president said. “We have to come together.”

Last night, however, Trump headlined a campaign rally in Wisconsin, where he elaborated a bit on what he believes “coming together” entails.

“As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together, the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. Have to do it. They’ve got to stop.”

Ah, I see. When the president talks about American “unity,” he envisions a society in which journalists cover the White House in ways the White House approves of.

Trump added on Twitter this morning:

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

So to recap, CNN, one of the world’s preeminent news organizations, was targeted with an explosive device. The same day that Americans learned of the threat, the president told an audience that news organizations must “stop” publishing reports he considers “negative” and “false.”

And the next morning, Trump took this line of argument just a bit further, suggesting news outlets are responsible for societal “Anger” with “purposely false” reporting.

In other words, the American president is blaming the media, at least in part, for a pipe bomb that targeted a media outlet. Trump is responding to what appears to be a suspected terrorist attack by intensifying his criticism of his own country’s journalistic institutions.

All of this comes on the heels of non-stop media criticism from the president, who has, at various times, accused U.S. news outlets of “treason” and of being “the enemy of the people.”

Periodically, in the wake of dramatic and life-threatening developments, a president is confronted with leadership tests. Donald Trump keeps  failing  his  tests.