News outlets shouldn’t sugarcoat Trump’s calls for violence and hate

News outlets shouldn’t sugarcoat Trump’s calls for violence and hate

Blog ››› ››› DAYANITA RAMESH, JOHN KERR & MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

The president of the United States regularly incites violence. No news outlet should ever pretend that’s normal.

Not only did he fail twice to clearly denounce white supremacy and violence incited by neo-Nazis, but he also claimed that “many sides” -- including the counterprotestors -- were to blame for the violence (which is a false equivalence) and that some of those who marched in the so-called “Unite The Right” rally were “fine people.” (White supremacists even praised Trump for his response.)

We shouldn’t be surprised that he can’t condemn violence when he regularly encourages and incites it:

Like that time he endorsed police brutality.

Or when he tweeted this video someone made of him beating up CNN.

Or the the time he implied that “Second Amendment people” could shoot Hillary Clinton.

Or how about when he complained that people were “too politically correct” to hurt one another.

Or when he told a white supporter who punched a black protester at his campaign rally that’d he look into paying his legal fees.

Or at another rally when he told his supporters to “knock the crap out of” any protesters they saw.

News commentators tend to suggest these comments shouldn’t be taken seriously or that he was just joking or that he was just trying to appeal to his base -- or they interview his shills, who downplay the seriousness of endorsing violence.

This type of coverage misses the point. Using threats of violence to gain supporters is just wrong, and not something that news outlets should ever treat as a normal part of politics. We should be debating ideas -- not talking about how we’re going to clobber people we don’t like.

Trump is telling his followers to hurt people -- those who are different from them, those who have different beliefs, and those who are just deemed to deserve it. When Trump incites violence, it makes America a more dangerous and more toxic place for all of us.

News outlets shouldn’t sugarcoat what’s going on here.

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