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By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos Staff
As Donald Trump prepares to shuffle off for another long weekend of golf, he has some heartfelt words for the families of journalists killed at the Capital Gazette. As Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton reports, Trump stated that the death of the five journalists "shocked the conscience of our nation" and that Journalists should be "free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job."
Earlier, Trump refused to respond to reporters asking questions about the shooting in the Gazette newsroom. That silent response seems at least marginally more honest, considering that Trump started calling journalists "traitors" even before the election, and encouraged his supporters in their anger against reporters who covered his events.
Since the election Trump has tweeted attacks on the "fake news" 225 times. Add to that another 61 attacks on "low ratings" CNN, 53 attacks on the "biased" NBC news, 51 attacks on the "failing New York Times," and 33 slams at the "fictional" Washington Post. That's not counting attacks on individual journalists.
In an interview with Mike Huckabee last week, Donald Trump called the coverage of his talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "almost treasonous." At his rallies, he has not just caged journalists, but encouraged his followers to demonstrate their hatred. The attacks on journalists began while Trump was campaigning, and they have not slowed down. Reporters have been subject to not just Trump's daily verbal attacks, but physical assault and frequent death threats.
That the shooter at the Capital Gazette had a long-standing grudge against the paper does not mean that Trump's encouragement to hate the media and hold them in contempt did not contribute to what happened. And his "shock" about what happened in that newsroom is as phony as his tan.
Trump: By the way, I hate some of these people. But I'd never kill them. I hate them. No. These people, honestly, I'll be honest. I would never kill them. I would never do that. Well ... (waggles his hand) ... No, I wouldn't. I would never kill them. But I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people. It's true. It's true.
It's also worth noting that in that same speech, when Trump says he's been told that Vladimir Putin killed reporters, his response is: "He says he didn't." He then goes on to claim that no one knows who Putin is supposed to have killed. It's not just the interference in the 2016 election where Trump is always ready to defend Putin. He's right there on excusing him from having killed journalists.
And this attitude is not improving. With Trump's encouragement, his supporters are continuing to threaten to attack the media. When Donald Trump declares over and over that he hates these "treasonous" "scumbags" peddling "fake news," jokes about his willingness to kill them, and leads the crowd in hurling insults -- and more -- at journalists held in cages, it seems difficult to accept that any of this is a "shock" to Trump.
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