Death threats over ‘fake news’

A man in the US has been arrested in the US, alleged of making death threats against employees of CNN – “Fake news! I’m coming to gun you all down.”

Donald Trump has been blamed for contributing to attacks against media generally and CNN in particular, but this appears to be an isolated albeit extreme reaction against media.

ABC News: Michigan man charged with threatening to kill CNN employees

A Michigan man is facing charges after he allegedly made threatening calls to CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, telling workers that he would come “to gun you all down,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News on Monday.

Authorities said the suspect, identified as Brandon Griesemer of Novi, Michigan, made at least 22 phone calls to the news network’s publicly listed telephone number on Jan. 9 and 10, making derogatory comments, death threats and accusing it of spewing “fake news,” according to an FBI affidavit.

Griesemer is accused of violating federal extortion and interstate communications rules.

“You are going down. I have a gun and I am coming to Georgia right now to go to the CNN headquarters to f—-ing gun every single last one of you,” the caller said on one of the occasions, according to the affidavit. “I have a team of people. It’s going to be great, man. … You gotta get prepared for this one, buddy.”

“Fake news! I’m coming to gun you all down,” the caller said in another instance.

The caller also made derogatory comments toward Jewish people and referred to CNN employees by the n-word, according to the affidavit.

Federal investigators said they traced the calls to a mobile phone belonging to Griesemer.

The same mobile number was connected to a call made to an Islamic center in September, when a man made derogatory comments relating to mosques and Muslims, investigators said. Griesemer admitted to calling the center on Sept. 19, telling police that he was angry at the time of the call.

An affidavit obtained by CNN the arrested man has more detail:

“Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down,” and “I am on my way right now to gun the f****** CNN cast down …. I am coming to kill you.”

“I’m smarter than you. More powerful than you. I have more guns than you. More manpower. Your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours.”

His degree of smartness is debatable.

Inevitably, Trump’s rhetoric aimed at media has been linked.

CNN contributor Ana Navarro connected the threats to anti-media comments made by President Donald Trump, who has often referred to members of the media as “fake news.” He also came under fire last year after he tweeted an edited video of him wrestling a man with a CNN logo over his face.

“This is why Trump’s words and tweets, and his memes showing violence against the press, matter,” Navarro said in a tweet Monday night, referring to the Griesemer case.

CNN Host Don Lemon also took aim at Trump:

Washington Post: CNN’s Don Lemon says Trump rhetoric responsible for threats against network

“I’ve heard from a number of very credible sources from within the White House that you watch this show,” Lemon said. “So, Mr. President, I’m going to speak directly to you.”

“The caller who threatened to kill CNN employees made his threat using these words: ‘Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down,’” said Lemon. He then paused before reflecting: “Fake news. I wonder where he got those words.”

The Washington Post’s Kyle Swenson wrote,

“The term, trumpeted by the president in his frequent clashes with the press, has become a popular rallying cry among Trump’s base. CNN has been a regular target of the president’s ‘fake news’ attacks; the president has also shared violent images featuring the cable news giant, including pictures of the CNN logo crushed under a shoe and a GIF of the president personally attacking the CNN logo.”

On the other side of the US media mess John Nolte at Breitbart blames CNN and justifies the threats in  CNN’s Climate of Hate Comes Home to Roost.

Accusing other media of a ‘climate of hate’ is ironic given Breitbart’s record of promoting division and stoking hate.

For nearly five years, going all the way back to the Trayvon Martin uproar, Breitbart News has aggressively documented CNN’s devolution into a 24/7 hate network. This week, CNN’s climate of hate finally came home to roost when a Michigan man, provoked by CNN’s fake news crisis, allegedly made death threats against the far-left network.

CNN chief Jeff Zucker has not only driven his network into last place (by a wide margin behind MSNBC and Fox) and turned it into a national laughingstock, he has used the network as a propaganda weapon to foment violence against police officers, his political enemies on the right, and President Trump. In furtherance of Zucker’s Cloward-Piven political strategy, CNN has also sought to gin up race riots in predominantly black neighborhoods.

CNN’s embarrassing ratings and well-documented fake news crisis are the least of the embattled network’s sins. More than anything else, it is CNN’s indecent and unceasing validation of political violence that is the most disturbing and dangerous.

More irony given Nolte’s attempt at validating threats of violence against CNN employees.

Thus far, CNN’s ever-increasing climate of hate has only brought misery, fear, and violence to others — to CNN’s intended victims on the political right. Last week, however, CNN got its own taste of that misery and fear.

Maybe now that CNN has provoked threats of violence against itself, Zucker and his on-air surrogates will ease up a bit on the belligerent trolling and provocations in order to adapt a New Tone that includes tolerance of outside ideas and a focus on integrity, facts, and honesty — as opposed to the fire hose of fake news.

So far, though, these death threats appear to have only emboldened CNN to spread even more provocative fake news against Trump — which is unfortunate.  The idea that CNN is willing to play with fire when no one wants to see anyone over there get hurt is, to say the least, a disturbing spectacle.

This all gives an impression of a severely dysfunctional media in the US. There is no doubt that Trump has stirred up anti-media sentiments. It’s debatable whether he can be blamed for the actions of an individual, but it’s quite possible he has contributed to the boldness of threats.

At a time of escalation in media madness like this a good leader might step up with some calming words, and make it clear that attacks on the media are in effect attacks on democracy. But that would mean Trump would need to calm his own attacks, and that’s unlikely to happen.

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  1. PDB

     /  January 29, 2018

    I’ve no time for Trump but I find it ironic a story blaming the catchcry ‘fake news’ is somewhat ‘fake news’ by focusing on the fact the guy used the now common saying whilst ignoring things like his anti-Jew rhetoric (“The caller also made derogatory comments toward Jewish people”) that is hardly likely to be from a devout follower of Trump.

    ‘Fake news’ is a meaningless generalisation that wont go away whilst certain news agencies/people continue to want to be the news rather than report the news.