On Tuesday night, CNN host Don Lemon, noting death threats issued by a disgruntled teenager targeting CNN, attacked President Trump, accusing him of being responsible for creating a climate where those threats could materialize.
After the arrest of Brandon Griesemer,19, of Novi, Michigan, who allegedly “made approximately 22 total calls to CNN” on January 9 and 10, issuing death threats, Lemon decided to hold Trump responsible, stating:
There’s nothing random about this. Nothing. This is what happens when the president of the United States, Donald Trump, repeatedly attacks members of the press simply for reporting facts he does not like. The president, just this morning, blasting our very own Jim Acosta and calling CNN “fake news,” a charge he has leveled at the press, not just CNN, over and over.
After playing a montage of Trump accusing the media of “fake news,” Lemon continued:
I’ve heard from a number of very credible sources from within the White House that you watch this show. You deny it all the time, but then you say something disparaging about me, and the only way you would know that is if you saw the show.
So, Mr. President, I’m going to speak directly to you. We are not the enemy; we are not trying to silence you. It is the job of the free press to report the news, to ask questions, tough questions, ones you don’t like, even if you don’t like the facts or those questions. No matter how many times you attack us as fake news, we will continue to do our jobs. When you make that baseless and incendiary charge, be aware that people are listening to you. Some very dangerous people.
According to a federal affidavit, the caller who threatened to kill CNN employees made his threat using these words: “Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down.” Fake news. I wonder where he got those words. And in the second call, “I am on my way right now to gun the f‑‑‑in’ CNN cast down. I am coming to kill you.”
So I can only speak for myself, but I know that my coworkers have also had threats at this network. Other networks, other news organizations, there’s an open case with the NYPD right now with someone who’s threatening to kill me. When you, Donald Trump, tweet the post of a train hitting CNN you might think it’s funny. It’s not; it’s stupid; it’s actually childish; my ten-year-old nephew wouldn’t even do something like that. When you tweet a doctored video of somebody body-slamming CNN, people are watching. What grade are you in? People take that message seriously.
And if one of us is hurt, or God forbid something else, in some way or another, because you either don’t understand the power of you words and/or you don’t care, it won’t be a fake injury or, sadly, a fake death. It’ll be real. And how will you answer those questions then, not only from journalists but from our loved ones? Because you’re going to have to do it. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. Let’s hope you see the error of your ways as well.