MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough worries that President Donald Trump’s attack on the media as “an enemy of the American people” could incite violence against individual journalists.
The “Morning Joe” host agreed with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that Trump’s tweet Friday blasting the media sounded like something a dictator would say, and he said the president had crossed the line with his attack.
“It’s one thing to say the press is liberal, it’s one thing to say the 9th Circuit (Court) is liberal, but when you start saying that somebody is an enemy of the people, then that does incite people to violence — especially if it’s coming from the president of the United States,” Scarborough said.
He said many journalists retweet the death threats they received daily for perceived negative reporting on the Trump administration, so he believes Trump’s words could inspire an unbalanced supporter to take action.
“When you receive tweets every day, and somebody’s threatening your life and they talk about lynching you and your family after President Trump has his way with the media, this happens over and over again, and I don’t think there’s anybody who’s in the media that doesn’t hear that every day,” Scarborough said. “So yeah, this is very, very dangerous.”
The president’s attack on “fake news” are especially ironic, Scarborough said, because Trump and his closest advisors have repeatedly lied about inauguration crowds, crime rate statistics and nonexistent terrorist attacks.
“As Jesus said, don’t throw stones if you live in glass houses,” Scarborough said. “This man lives in the biggest glass house there is when it comes to a disconnection from truth. So to attack the media and then say they’re enemies of the people is beyond the pale.”
Scarborough said Trump’s broad strategy to undermine the press appears to be backfiring for now.
“Let’s talk about things in a way that Donald Trump can understand — ratings — and let’s just put it all out on the table,” Scarborough said. “Everybody’s ratings are up, newspaper subscriptions at the New York Times are exploding, the Washington Post doing better than it’s ever done before. CNN — from the day that Donald Trump called them fake news, CNN’s numbers have exploded. Donald Trump has been Jeff Zucker’s — you can tell they’ve been great friends for a very long time, because there is nothing Donald Trump could do to help CNN more. They’re enjoying record numbers.”
He can’t believe that none of Trump’s advisers have urged him to make peace with the media, since his attacks don’t seem to be working.
“I guess he’s not smart enough to figure that out on his own,” Scarborough said.