“We condemn the president’s threat of physical violence against journalists. This tweet is beneath the office of the presidency. Sadly, it is not beneath this president.”
So said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. This is just the latest fit of pique over Trump’s tweeting habits, which lately included an old clip of Trump in a World Wrestling All-Stars wrestling match beating up Vince McMahon, whose face was replaced with the CNN logo. This is being interpreted as a threat of violence against journalists, but the reality is that this is also something far less offensive than the earlier tweet that attacked the hosts of Morning Joe personally and made crude comments about Mika Brzezinski. Those weren’t incitements to violence, but they were extraordinarily vile.
In this instance, something else is happening that Bruce Brown and other offendees don’t really get.
Great pains were taken to hide the face of the person in the video. Trump isn’t beating up journalists; he’s beating up CNN as an institution. It may be hard to see heavy symbolism in professional wrestling, but this is the kind of stuff that thrills Trump’s base. There is a great deal of delight for them in cheering on the first Republican president that doesn’t just sit back and let the press beat up on him.
What CNN et. al. don’t realize is that their outrage fuels the fire and deepens the bond between the president and his deplorables. Trump is a bully, yes, but bullies thrive on the misery of their victims. The more the press screams and cries, the more fun it is for the bully and his henchmen.
That reality is lost on most journalists, who don’t realize they’re pouring gasoline on the Trump tweet dumpster fire.
All of the talk about what’s beneath the dignity of the office may make them feel good about themselves, but it also thrills the trolls who spend all their lives beneath the dignity of the office. Those are the people who hate being talked down to, which is all the press does. Nobody should be shocked – or offended, really – when the same people cheer when they see Donald Trump punching CNN in the face.
(Photo from a screen shot of President Tump’s Twitter feed.)