As news of a fatal mass shooting at a community newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, continues to shock the world, there’s one person in particular that people are blaming for inciting violence against the press.
President Trump, along with his loyal followers like Milo Yiannopoulos, is being blamed for encouraging hostility towards the media and villainising journalists.
At least five people were killed in the terrifying shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom on 28 June. The shooter's motive has not yet been confirmed, but he has sent social media threats to the newsroom before.
After the Annapolis shooting became international news, Trump offered his “thoughts and prayers” to those affected.
But not everyone was impressed, with many pointing out his divisive rhetoric that repeatedly targets the media.
A shooting in a newspaper office after years of journalists being called the enemy of the people. I’ve heard so man… https://t.co/BMvUAjZY4P
— Jared Yates Sexton (@Jared Yates Sexton)
If your ‘profile’ depends on being shocking, you can’t retreat. You need to be ever more extreme just to stay relev… https://t.co/JqVwF4DRc2
In August 2017, Trump encouraged the a crowd to chant "CNN sucks". According reports, audience members hurled insults at reporters, demanding that journalists stop investigating claims of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Journalists were pelted with rocks and tear gas upon leaving.
During his presidential campaign, he encouraged crowds to boo journalists, and even offered to cover the legal fees of anyone who gets in trouble fighting against protesters at his rallies.
He even pretended to beat up CNN in a wrestling match
Trump also has a history of associating and praising people who are violent towards journalists.
During the 2016 election campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin. Human Rights Watch says Russia is "far from a safe place" for journalists who criticise Putin. The Washington Post highlighted 10 of Putin's critics who mysteriously died or disappeared.
He also defended Corey Lewandowski, his campaign manager, who was charged with assaulting reporter Michelle Fields.
More recently, the Philippines' violent dictator Rodrigo Duterte referred to journalists as "spies" when asked about human rights. Trump’s response was to laugh. Duterte has consistently threatened journalists, chillingly warning them that they "are not exempted from assassination".