The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state. ~ John Adams
Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. ~ Benjamin Franklin
I could go on and on, adding quote after quote, but the point is clear: having fled from, and fought, tyranny for freedom, the founding fathers of this country knew how vital the free flow of information to the people was to the success of a nation.
Yesterday five of those information gatherers and disseminators were slaughtered.
The offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis became a killing field as the second amendment murdered the first.
Jarrod Ramos, 38 years old, of Laurel, Maryland, entered the building and according to witnesses began his assault by shooting through the glass door of the newsroom. Police arrived within 60 seconds, but he had already taken the lives of five journalists. And as all cowards do, he hid when they came in. He was found hiding under a desk.
Preliminary information shows that he had a longstanding beef, as it were, with the Gazette. They had covered a story - THEIR JOB - of his year long, threatening harassment of a woman online - she did not seek out his attentions, nor did she want them. She describes it as a "yearlong nightmare." In return for them DOING THEIR JOB, Ramos filed a defamation suit against columnist Eric Hartley, Capital Gazette Communications, and the paper’s former editor and publisher Thomas Marquardt.
But, as the truth is the best defense, his case against them was dismissed. Thus began his years of online harassment and threats against the paper and its employees. “I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt said. “I remember telling our attorneys, ‘This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us.’ "
I stress again, these people were simply doing their job. And to all the miscreants, incels from the bowels of 4Chan, and entitled ones everywhere I say, Do not do the crime if you do not wish to see your pathetic self outed by the press.
Just as that woman owed Ramos neither her time, attention, or affections, a newspaper does not owe you anonymity when you cross the line into the criminal.
Something our Oval occupier and his band of idiots do not grasp.
Since the beginning of his campaign for office, Donald Trump has assaulted the press. Pointing them out, threatening them at his rallies, encouraging his cultish followers to go after them, and of course, throwing his favorite capitalized words around - FAKE NEWS.
FAKE NEWS get tweeted or slobbered by him each and every time journalists uncover more of his proven mendacity, criminal dealings, and growing list of connections to the Kremlin. Anything he doesn't like is immediately branded FAKE NEWS. Ask a hard hitting question? FAKE NEWS. Report anything accurately? FAKE NEWS.
And his mantra has worked on his followers. He and his administration acolytes have also joined in the chorus of FAKE NEWS to the point that his MAGAts immediately disbelieve any reporting that questions their Dear Leader.
Fine. There has always been, and will always be, an easily led, not-too-bright, suspicious of everything contingent in this country. Flat earthers, birthers, grassy knollers, 911-ers, mass shooting-ers, and on and on. Anything with too much science, facts, big words, or too horrific for their small minds to absorb, is immediately cast aside in favor of easily disproved, but much more entertaining conspiracies.
It is easy to laugh them off, marginalize them, let them spin their webs in their dirty little corners of the internet. But what has happened under Trump cannot be ignored or left unattended. He has repeatedly targeted the press, just four nights ago at another of his masturbatory rallies calling them the "enemy of the people," slurring them via his Twitter account, continually ratcheting up his attacks against them.
It is dangerous. It is demagoguery. It is deadly.
Each day we see video after video of his MAGAts attacking people in this country for speaking a language they do not understand, for daring to breath while brown, repeating his bullshit of "rapists and thieves." And each time, their vile, spittle laden attacks invoke their Tangerine Taint. HE is their justification for their attacks. HE has given their racism and bigotry freedom. HE emboldens them to threaten anyone who would dare question his behavior, his lies, his conflicts of interest.
See her in her pretty little MAGA hat? She was screaming at this 14 year old boy who was defending immigrants at a city council meeting in Simi Valley this week. Among the gems she shrieked at him? "You are going to be the first deported" and "dirty Mexican." What the fuck is wrong with you people? Look at his face. Then look at the rabid hatred pouring out of hers. HE IS A CHILD. And you want civility? Pound sand, you horrific wastes of oxygen.
And as we have seen repeatedly - when a public figure with an easily led following bangs a drum over and over - people get hurt. Bill O'Reilly, on 28 broadcasts of his then show, The O'Reilly Factor, referred to Dr. George Tiller - one of three physicians in the country who performed late term abortions - as "Tiller the baby killer." George Tiller was gunned down in church. Since the nightmare of Trump has begun, government studies show that the actual number of hate crimes in 2017 may be as high as 250,000 – more than 40 times the 6,121 incidents that the FBI reports for 2016. And in the final three months of 2016, an FBI report shows there was a 25% increase in targeted violence against Trump's favorite targets - Muslims, black people, Hispanics, and LGBT. And let us not forget that we are at the one year anniversary of his Nazi dog whistles resulted in the death of Heather Heyer in North Carolina.
His continual cries of FAKE NEWS have continually encouraged his slobbering masses to go after journalists. These same hypocrites who are crying about civility after Sarah Sanders was denied a meal have done these things:
- Journalist Kurt Eichenwald, who has epilepsy, opened a message sent to him on Twitter from a Trump supporter. It contained the words “You deserve a seizure for your posts” and a blinding strobe gif. It sent him immediately into horrific seizures. That piece of excrement, John Rayne Rivello, was tracked down and arrested.
- Rick Wilson, a GOP consultant and frequent news contributor, who is also very critical of Trump, had his daughter threatened with rape by Trump supporters.
- Greg Gianforte, the GOPer and Trump fanboy, who was running for a House seat in Montana, body slammed a reporter. MAGAts lapped that up and he went on to win the seat.
- Alt right fame whore, Milo Yiannopoulos is on the record as contacting two news outlets and stating he wanted to see vigilantes “gunning journalists down on sight.” (Oh, how poor MIlo ran to the microphones yesterday to try to spin that. Sorry, asshole, you said it, and there are consequences.)
- Last night, in the constipated bowels of the internet - 4Chan, Tumblr, Reddit, Twitter - MAGAts were posting things like this as they celebrated the murders of those Gazette journalists, "dead journalists can't spread leftist propaganda."
Listen up, just because you don't like the facts, doesn't make them propaganda. Facts have a liberal bias, but they also do not care which side of an argument they support. FACTS just ARE. FOX is not news, MAGAts. It never has been. It identifies itself as entertainment due to being dragged into court. Countries ban their broadcasts because it is NOT news, but lies, incitement, and true propaganda.
Sean Hannity is not giving you news. He is throwing you red meat, bullshit, and garbage, yet you eat it up like an overflowing plate of Golden Corral's finest. The bodies of those gunned down were not yet cold yesterday when Hannity went on air blaming Maxine Waters for what happened. Maxine Waters, who simply called for people to exercise their first amendment rights to peaceful protest against the hideous policies of this political cartel currently in power. She never incited violence. She never targeted the free press. But Sean, Trump's other asshole, had to get the spin out. As stupid as these reprobates are, they do know what they are doing, what they are saying, and when it blows up in their faces, when someone actually takes their words and turns them into violent action - they spin, point fingers, and try to escape blame as fast as possible.
Sorry, but words have consequences. And repeating them over and over only serves to ratchet up the potential for violence.
Journalists in this country are scared. Covering the truth should be lauded, not hunted down. But they have been targeted by Trump - an ignorant, careless, craven coward, hiding behind a following of equally ignorant, careless, craven cowards.
As unbalanced parties of every description can never tolerate a free inquiry of any kind, when employed against themselves, the license, and even the most temperate freedom of the press, soon excite resentment and revenge. -John Adams
That is not FAKE NEWS, that is now sadly, provably, blood stained TRUTH.
In memory of those slain for trying to inform. You will not be forgotten, and your deaths will not be in vain.