The caller’s threat came amid continued attacks on the media from Trump, who has described the press as “the enemy of the people” and “fake news.”
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 5, 2018
The caller was identified by C-SPAN host Greta Brawner as “Don from State College, Pennsylvania.” He phoned into her show Friday to express support for Trump’s criticism of the media.
“It all started when Trump got elected,” the caller said before he wrongly accused the CNN anchors of labeling Trump’s supporters as racist. “Stelter and Lemon don’t even know us. They don’t even know these Americans out here and they’re calling us racist because we voted for Trump.”
“They started the war. If I see ’em, I’m going to shoot ’em. Bye,” he said before hanging up and ending the call.
Before he played the C-Span clip on his show Stelter revealed that other reporters at CNN and other news networks also get serious threats. He also said that threatening calls and emails are “coming in more often.” “I’m not asking for sympathy, I don’t think I’m in extreme danger, I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do,” Stelter said. “CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff.”
While discussing the threat Sunday Stelter pointed out that neither Lemon nor he have described all Trump supporters as “racist.” And he said he wasn’t sure why the person who called in had come to this conclusion.
He did say, however, that Fox News’ Sean Hannity played a clip of Stelter during his show on Thursday, which may have inflamed the passions of irrational Trump supporters. In that segment Hannity showed Stelter asking if “racial anxiety” had been a significant factor in Trump’s victory in 2016.
“Obviously, researchers have proven that ― yes ― racial anxiety and resentment was a factor. But that’s not the same as calling all Trump supporters racist,” Stelter said Sunday. “I don’t know if the C-SPAN caller watched Hannity. I’m not blaming Hannity. I just thought the timing was odd.”
Stelter also played a disturbing video of MSNBC’s Katy Tur saying that she and a couple of her female colleagues had received emails saying, “I hope you get raped and killed.”
“And in case you want to argue that this has nothing to do with the president, the most recent note I got ended with ‘MAGA,’ ” Tur said.
Trump has adopted an increasingly hostile stance against the media since the 2016 presidential election. He ramped up his attacks against the press over the weekend, tweeting Friday night that Lemon was the “dumbest man on television” and tweeting Sunday that the media is “dangerous & sick” and can “cause War.”