CNN Analyst Speculates Newspaper Shooting Caused By ‘Political Atmospherics’ Against the Press

On Thursday afternoon, the country was jolted by the despicable, horrifying, and unimaginable shooting at the Annapolis, Maryland daily newspaper The Capital Gazette with reports of fatalities and injuries. 

Any reasonable person would condemn the situation and CNNers Juliette Kayyem and Brian Stelter promised not to speculate on the cause of the incident less than an hour of the initial reports, but they did just that. As for what or who was to blame, they placed it on the country’s “political atmospherics” and “the rise of threats against journalists” (read: criticism of the news media).

 

 

Speaking to weekday afternoon CNN Newsroom fill-in host Ana Cabrera, Kayyem noted that “the $64,000 question” is motive now that the shooter is reportedly in custody. 

She insisted that she wasn’t going to speculate, but she proceeded to lay out four possibilities with one being “a former employee,” an acquaintance of someone at the paper, someone with just a personal grievance, or someone seeking to cause “violence to make a larger statement about the media today.”

“I'll go straight to the jugular — you know, there is a lot of political atmospherics coming from — in the discourse that is, you know, targeted against fake news and the media, and particular reporters,” she added.

The former Obama official stated that “we should not get ahead of the story at all,” but again went into speculation mode:

Is it personal or is it something larger? Are going to have different ripple effects. If it was the workplace violence, you have a contained incident, you prosecute, you protect the victims. If you have something bigger, then I think other newsrooms are going to have to take caution. We’re going to have to have discussion about how we treat the media, how the media is discussed. So, obviously, once again, Ana, we’ve don’t this before. Stay tuned. This is, you know, we don't know yet, but that's what stands out to me and that is, for me, the pivotal moment, the pivotal question now. 

Twice earlier in the hour, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter briefly took a similar approach. At 3:21 p.m. Eastern, he told Cabrera: “I think everyone, right away, thinks about the climate of threats against journalists in this country, but we have no idea what's unfolded there so far.”

Nineteen minutes later, he referenced the August 26, 2015 murder of two WBDJ-TV journalists at the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, VA before adding:

It is thankfully rare to see this kind of thing happen. We don't know the full context of the incident. But we do know it's in the rise of threats against journalists in recent years and either way, whether random or targeted, it cause it is causing alarms in other local newsrooms.

Journalism is a basic tenet of our representative republic and democracies throughout the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re free from criticism and offering sober, substantive appraisals of media in all its forms. And that’s what we try to do at NewsBusters. 

These journalists deserve our prayers. A lot of conservatives distrust the media and wish the professional wasn’t as biased to the left, but they’re human beings and children of God. I’ll leave you with a tweet I sent out about an hour before this blog’s publication:

 

To see the relevant transcript from June 28's CNN Newsroom, click “expand.”

CNN Newsroom
June 28, 2018
3:21 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: I think everyone, right away, thinks about the climate of threats against journalists in this country. But we have no idea what's unfolded there so far. 

(....)

3:40 p.m. Eastern

STELTER: It is thankfully rare to see this kind of thing happen. We don't know the full context of the incident. But we do know it's in the rise of threats against journalists in recent years and either way, whether random or targeted, it cause it is causing alarms in other local newsrooms. 

(....)

3:44 p.m. Eastern

JULIETTE KAYYEMM: The question now and I think it’s the $64,000 question because it will have implications about whether this is local or a national story, is who was the perpetrator, and what motivated him. Was it personal? Was he a former employee? Was he a boyfriend or, you know, friend of someone? Is there a personal grievance that led to this? We've seen that before. This could be workplace violence. We’ve seen that before. The second question or — second question or alternate, is this a — is — the use of, you know, violence to make a larger statement about the media today and we have to, you know, I'll go straight to the jugular — you know, there is a lot of political atmospherics coming from — in the discourse that is, you know, targeted against fake news and the media, and particular reporters. I do not know right now, and so we should not get ahead the story at all, about which of those two alternatives, but the consequences of what the answer is, right? Is it personal or something larger, are going to have different ripple effects. If it was the workplace violence, you have a contained incident, you prosecute, you protect the victims. If you have something bigger, then I think other newsrooms are going to have to take caution. We’re going to have to have discussion about how we treat the media, how the media is discussed. So, obviously, once again, Ana, we’ve don’t this before. Stay tuned. This is, you know, we don't know yet, but that's what stands out to me and that is, for me, the pivotal moment, the pivotal question now. 


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