Trump, who frequently disparages the news media as “fake news” and “enemy of the people,” tweeted Wednesday that the press “has never been more dishonest” and bragged that coverage of him has “kept many of them in business.”
Reporter Rachael Pacella responded with a quote-tweet to the president, recalling the horror of the June shooting in her newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Seeing generalized media-bashing tweets from the president makes me fear for my life,” Pacella wrote. “His words have power, and give bad actors justification to act.”
A shotgun-wielding man who had a long-running feud with The Capital attacked the paper on June 28, firing as he walked through the newsroom, authorities said. He allegedly barricaded the exit door so employees couldn’t escape and took the lives of Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Robert Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara.
The accused killer, Jarrod Ramos, has indicated he’s considering pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the media for stories that portray him unfavorably. He’s threatened CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and HuffPost, among others. The president’s rhetoric has made the phrase “fake news” popular with his supporters on social media. Last week, a Trump fan attacked a BBC cameraman after Trump ranted against the media during a rally in Texas.
The president’s latest attack came a day after a lawsuit was filed by Nicholas Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teen at the center of the widely publicized confrontation in Washington with Native American activist Nathan Phillips.
Sandmann is suing The Washington Post for $250 million, alleging coverage of his interaction with Phillips “wrongfully targeted and bullied” Sandmann “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap.”
The student, on a field trip from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, was seen in a now-viral video showing teens surrounding Phillips performing an American Indian movement song on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in January. The video quickly became a polarizing cause, with some seeing the teens as instigators and Sandmann and others saying they were trying to prevent trouble.
Sandmann’s lawsuit claimed the Post’s reporting “ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.”
Trump has frequently targeted the Post, which often writes critical reports about his presidency, and owner Jeff Bezos. On Tuesday, he went after the paper’s Fact Checker column, calling it a “Fake Fact Checker!” that caters to Democrats.
As of last month, the column had identified 8,158 misleading or false Trump statements since he took office.