On Sunday President Trump tweeted a video of his appearance on WWE in which he takes down Vince McMahon, only the CNN logo was pasted over McMahon's face.
Cue the outrage and virtue signaling from the press that praised Kathy Griffin and the Julius Caesar production. Not to mention finger wagging, even from the "unbiased" Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether by whim or design, President Donald Trump keeps adding fuel to his incendiary Twitter battle against the media. The press is an easy target for the Republican president, and one his supporters love to hate.
But the escalating conflict has diverted attention not just from Trump’s failures but his claimed successes as well.
Trump tweeted Monday that “at some point the Fake News will be forced to discuss our great jobs numbers, strong economy, success with ISIS, the border & so much else!”
It’s his own campaign against the press, though, that keeps changing the subject from that more substantive policy debate Trump claims to crave.
It was unprecedented, even for Trump: a sitting president, in effect promoting physical assault of a media stand-in. Media watchdogs quickly called him out.
Trump was clearly being egged on by his supporters, including his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., a frequent attack dog for his father.
The younger Trump on Monday contrasted the more accepting way the media have treated a New York production of “Julius Caesar,” in which a Trumpian Caesar dies in a bloody group stabbing, with the outcry over the wrestling clip.
“CNN & dems calling Trump assassination play ‘artistic expression’ but WWF joke meme is ‘a call for violence’? Hilarious reinforcement of FNN,” the younger Trump tweeted Monday, using an acronym for what the president has begun to refer to as the “Fake News Network.”
When a CNN reporter tweeted, “Isn’t pro wrestling fake?” Trump Jr. responded: “Yes, just like your coverage.”
First of all, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, etc. have all had plenty of opportunity to report on whatever they want. They choose to report on Tweets and Russia instead of substantive policy issues because #resist... or something. Their outrage feeds into the President's ability to continue poking at them. If the press ignored the tweets they would probably stop. The problem is, the media elites are so wrapped up in their bubble they've probably never heard the term "don't feed the trolls", or they at least don't understand it.
Secondly, the idea that this Tweet is "promoting physical assault" of any kind is beyond stupid. Now, before you ask "but Arthur, what about when you talked about Kathy Griffin and Julius Caesar?" go watch the video and read the article and note that I never said that either of those things were a direct threat or call for violence against President Trump or that Ms. Griffin and the theater company don't have the right to do what they did (even though they both lost money and Ms. Griffin is under investigation).
Even if the play and image were calls for violence (and I'm not saying they were), President Trump's tweet is different for one simple reason:
The President's tweet shows him as an individual attacking the entity of CNN, where the play and Griffin photo are portrayals of an individual killing the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
None of those things are calls for violence.
Violence is never an acceptable response to words on the internet. It doesn't matter which side you're on.
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