Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump is ‘not responsible’ for the bombs sent to Trump’s favorite Democratic targets. She blamed “negative”, that is to say accurate, media coverage of Trump for the bombs.
Speaking to reporters on the White House driveway, Sarah Sanders refused to take any responsibility for Trump’s vitriolic and hostile attacks on Democrats who received bomb scares, repeating Trump’s complaint that the media is to blame. That is to say, “negative” coverage of him is to blame for the terrorist acts, which is something that until Trump, only a political terrorist would say in public.
Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump is ‘not responsible’ for the bombs sent to Trump’s favorite Democratic targets. She blamed “negative”, that is to say accurate, media coverage of Trump for the bombs. https://t.co/2BmqzH4aQf pic.twitter.com/81JAKal2jF
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 25, 2018
“Look there’s a big difference between the comments made and actions taken. The president is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone — no more than Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year. The idea that this is at the hands of the president is absolutely ridiculous.”
Then Sanders claims “everyone has a role to play” in the violence, by which she didn’t mean the people Trump has targeted receive threats as their role, but rather an ode to Trump’s odious “some good people” in the white supremacists who murdered an innocent woman in Charlottesville.
“Look, the President has condemned violence in all forms, has done that since day one, we’ll continue to do that. But it certainly feels that everyone has a role to play.”
A reporter asked if Trump is going to stop insulting his political opponents at rallies, noting that he called Maxine Waters “Low IQ”, called Joe Biden “Someone pulled off a trash heap,” called Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary”, and asked, is he going to stop insulting these people who received these bombs?
No answer from Sanders on that call out:
“Look the president’s going to continue to lay out the contrast between Democrats… and if you’ll let me answer it for you, I’d like to finish my sentence… The president is going to continue to lay out the case and the differences between Democrats and Republicans. Americans have a choice to make and he’s going to lay that out. And, you’re going to see him do that over the next 12 days.”
A reporter interrupted Sanders to ask if “evil” is an appropriate way to describe opponents, to which Sanders says because of the negative coverage (by which she means, again, accurate coverage- there is no such thing as “negative” coverage when referring to facts), the media has a role to play in the violence.
“It is a word that people have used on your network a number of times, not only to describe the president but many people that work in this administration. Absolutely. Day in day out there is a negative tone. Ninety percent of the media attention around this president is negative… You guys continue to focus only on the negative. And that is there is a role to play. Yesterday, the very first thing that the President did was come out and condemn the violence. The very first thing your network did was come out and accuse the President of being responsible for it. That is not ok. The first thing should have been to condemn the violence.”
The big canard here, among the many lies and goal posts a movin’, is that coverage that makes Donald Trump look bad is “negative.” This is not correct.
MSNBC’s Ali Veshi tore this argument apart when he reminded everyone of the purpose of journalism:
Journalism exists to bear witness, speak truth to power, and challenge inaccuracy. It is not about “positive” or “negative” coverage. Sentiment is irrelevant in the search for truth and accountability. Coverage that is legitimately negative in pursuit of the truth is not biased
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) October 25, 2018
Being held accountable is not “negative” coverage, but of course, Trump feels entitled to direct news coverage of himself to ignore all of the corruption and egregious negative policies like the impact of his trade war on blue collar workers and large companies. Trump feels so entitled to this that he and Sanders actually blame the media for the bombs because they report the truth about Trump’s actions.
Report the truth and you create anger, which means you will be responsible when someone targets you: That’s the Sanders Trump argument. They’ve taken blaming the victim to the next level.
Not only are all presidents put under such scrutiny, but in fact, Donald Trump has done some heinous things which cause a negative reaction, like jailing babies and appointing a man credibly accused of rape to the Supreme Court for a lifetime appointment. This “negative” coverage argument is just another somewhat successful attempt to game the ref, to guilt trip “liberal” media into silence and compliance.
We will not ever hear from Trump or Sanders any genuine sorrow, regret, or awareness that their rhetoric has incited such violence, which Greg Sargent pointed out the media keeps waiting for but is not going to happen because Trump wants us to be at war with one another.
Division is the goal, not collateral damage.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.