Morning Joe Insinuates Trump’s Media Criticism Will Cause a Terror Attack

Monday, on MSNBC's Morning Joe, political analysts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann began a segment by hammering President Trump’s tweet on Friday criticizing the media again as "fake news" and an "enemy of the American people." Heilemann linked Trump’s comments to the possibility of inciting a terror attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.

Heilemann drew lines between this and fears of a similar attack happening against members of the media:

Look, he’s been waging war on the press for a while but I have to say this language is, you know, really far outside..."Enemy of the people" is pretty far outside the standard Republican play-book of attacking people like Nick Confessore of The New York Times and other places...Joe, my question for you is, you know, we all -- I think most people at this table were alive and politically conscious at the time of the Oklahoma City bombings...Every time that Donald Trump uses this kind of language I always worry that it's an incitement to – elements of our country that are – that might go ahead and do something when the President of the United States calls the press the enemy of the people. That they might take that seriously. Does that concern you?

Scarborough answered, alluding to members of the media receiving threats as a result of Trump’s negative comments concerning them: "I know a lot of people love to re-tweet all of the death threats that they get and all the nasty things that they get, but when you receive tweets every day and somebody is 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 is anybody that is in the media that doesn't hear that every day. So, yes, there are unbalanced people on the left, there are unbalanced people on the right, there are unbalanced people that support Donald Trump as well. So, yeah, this is very, very dangerous.”

He went on to explain what the press’s role has been and what happens when you publicly condemn them: “We grow up with the press being biased and beating us up and always giving our democratic opponent every benefit of the doubt. That's just part of the playing field...but when you start saying that somebody has -- 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 continued, inviting MSNBC contributor Mike Barnacle into the conversation: “There's a President who, from the second he got into office, was lying...As Jesus said, I mean, you know, don't throw stones if you live in glass houses. 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 are enemies of the people, is beyond the pale.”

Barnacle responded, “You know Joe, the media, my view is that, we need no defense. Our defense occurs each and every day that a newspaper is printed in a big city or a small town in this country...But the evidence is in what we have done through history help bring wars like Vietnam to full focus for the American people, help people on an everyday basis. The problem here, the danger here, I would submit, is when he says the fake news media is the enemy of the American people. That's a slow slide to immigrants are the enemy of the American people. Unions are the enemy of the American people. People in Massachusetts and New Hampshire or any other state that didn't vote for me, Trump, are the enemy of the American people. It's a slow slide to that I would submit.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

This is the exchange that took place on February 20:
MSNBC - Morning Joe
6AM TEASE
[6:06:56 - 6:11:52 ]

MARK HALPERIN: So John, how is this Trump generated controversy different in terms of what he did and how people are reacting?

JOHN HEILEMANN: Well– it’s, you know–  Look, he’s been waging war on the press for a while but I have to say this language is, you know, really far outside -- it's not like the–  Nixon you said it before. Enemy of the people is pretty far outside the— standard Republican playbook of attacking people like Nick Confessore of The New York Times and other places. And you know, it----There's -- the administrations always take offense when they are criticized and challenged but I think part of the reason why you’re seeing this bipartisan, and even inside the administration itself it’s this just seems beyond the pale. Joe, my question for you is, you know, we all -- I think most people at this table were alive and politically conscious at the time of the Oklahoma City bombings.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Right

JOHN HEILEMANN: Every time that Donald Trump uses this kind of language I always worry that it's an incitement to–  elements of our country that are– that might go ahead and do something when the President of the United States calls the press the enemy of the people. That they might take that seriously. Does that concern you?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Right. Well, you know, the thing is you–  try to take a lot of what you get, the incoming in stride. I know a lot of people love to re-tweet all of the death threats that they get and all the nasty things that they get, but when you receive tweets every day and somebody is 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 is anybody that is in the media that doesn't hear that every day. So, yes, there are unbalanced people on the left, there are unbalanced people on the right, there are unbalanced people that support Donald Trump as well. So, yeah, this is very, very dangerous. And as Chris Wallace said yesterday on -- I thought it was significant on Fox News Sunday, the President crossed a line. We Republicans talking about myself -- you know, I hear John McCain saying, well, I hate you, I hate the press. He is not joking! We grow up with the press being biased and beating us up and always giving our democratic opponent every benefit of the doubt. That's just part of the playing field. And it's one thing to say the press is liberal, it’s one thing to say the ninth circuit is liberal, but when you start saying that somebody has -- 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. And Mike Barnacle, what is so rich about Donald Trump, talking about fake news and Reince Priebus talking about stories that are inaccurate, there's a President who, from the second he got into office, was lying about crowd sizes, that were verifiably false if you just looked at satellite images, lied last week in a press conference about having the largest electoral college victory since Reagan. That was a lie as well. Lied about the crime rate being at 47-year high when it was at a 47-year low, except for last year when we had a slight bump-up. Then, of course, the terror attack in Sweden this weekend. I mean let– As Jesus said, I mean, you know, don't throw stones if you live in glass houses. 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 are enemies of the people, is beyond the pale.

MIKE BARNACLE: You know Joe, the media, my view is that, we need no defense. Our defense occurs each and every day that a newspaper is printed in a big city or a small town in this country.

JOHN MEACHAM: Or we fire up the cameras here.

MIKE BARNACLE: But the evidence is in what we have done through history, help bring wars like Vietnam to full focus for the American people, help people on an everyday basis. The problem here, the danger here, I would submit, is when he says the fake news media is the enemy of the American people. That's a slow slide to immigrants are the enemy of the American people. Unions are the enemy of the American people. People in Massachusetts and New Hampshire or any other state that didn't vote for me, Trump, are the enemy of the American people. It's a slow slide to that I would submit.

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE: Look. I am -- the people are my boss. I work for them. And they are a tough boss but I'm not their enemy. I am their employee. And that’s the importance of journalism in a country like America. And I think it's just atrocious to see him do it. It’s also sad and obvious. It’s a way of pushing accountability of his own mistakes, his own problems, away from the White House.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
NBDaily Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Morning Joe Fake News Joe Scarborough Mark Halperin John Heilemann Nicholas Confessore Jon Meacham Donald Trump