It is both surreal and frankly, pathetic: on Sunday, the president of the United States broadcast a video on his Twitter account in which he is seen throwing a man to the ground and beating him up. The video, which was shot in 2007 at a professional wrestling gala, had been altered. The man’s face is covered by the CNN network logo.
Coming from a politician who has called some major American media outlets "enemies of the American people," the broadcast of this video is unfortunately not surprising. It is even less surprising when you remember how, at his rallies, Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to be violent.
That said, even if such tweets do not leave us speechless, it is crucial we continue to be offended and to report them. This is what both Democratic and Republican politicians did last week when Trump insulted two MSNBC network anchors, Joe Scarborough (a former Republican elected official) and Mika Brzezinski. One was called a "psychopath" and the other, "low IQ crazy,” as the president made reference to a bleeding face following plastic surgery.
Even if responding to inopportune outbursts may seem pointless, scrolling past them in silence would be a mistake. This would, in effect, normalize them a little bit more.
“It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters,” CNN said, following the broadcast of Trump’s controversial video.
It is, indeed, distressing. It should be noted that the point being made here is not to shelter journalists from criticism. CNN also admitted to having made a mistake last week after the publication of an article, according to which the U.S. Senate was investigating alleged links between Trump’s relatives and a Russian investment fund. Three journalists had to leave the network after this controversy.
The point, rather, is that those individuals who treat journalists as enemies are usually not friends of democracy or freedom of expression.
The point is also that Americans did not vote for a wrestler who dreams of fighting in a ring with those who do not bow to his will (whether they are journalists or not). They voted for a president who promised them he would “make America great again.” And, so far, the return on their investment has not been very high.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was among the big Republican names who condemned the president last week. “Do you want to be remembered for your tweets or your accomplishments?” she asked him.
Trump responded to these criticisms with another snub. “My use of social media is not Presidential - it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL,” he wrote. But insults and intimidation have nothing to do with being presidential or modern.
That being said, it is hard to see why Trump would stop attacking the media. His determination borders on obsession. It is therefore crucial to remember, each and every time, how unacceptable his behavior is and to denounce it loud and clear.
Americans did not vote for a wrestler who dreams of fighting in a ring with those who do not bow to his will.