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David Simon said plainly on Thursday that President Trump bore some responsibility for the shooting at a Maryland community newspaper for his hateful rhetoric toward numerous print and TV outlets.
The former newsman and creator of The Wire said he had friends at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis where, on Thursday afternoon, a man in his late 30s walked in and began shooting the staff, killing five and injuring a number of others. The suspect reportedly had a grudge with the paper for a story in which he felt he was libeled. He sued. The case was tossed out in court.
Even before he took office, Trump attacked the media for essentially any reporting in which he was painted in poor light by facts. Although he has never encouraged direct violence against the media, he has, on a number of occasions, told his supporters journalists are “the enemy of the people” and made it a point to call out reporters at his rallies so his supporters could verbally harass them.
For Simon, that is culpability.
“Blood today in an American newsroom. Aren’t you proud, you vile, fascist son of a bitch,” Simon tweeted in response to a mid-February tweet from Trump in which he attacked multiple outlets, including CNN and The New York Times.
Simon was relentless when told by some, seemingly Trump supporters, that he was out of line for making the deadly incident political before the exact motive for the shooting was known.
“Two of my friends are still unaccounted for because they were working in that newsroom as ‘enemies of the people’ according to this US president. He is being blamed for the actual words he offered about the standing of journalists in our society,” Simon said in one post.
“Whatever was in the shooter’s head, the US President stood ready to bolster and validate it. We know this. It is on the record. The US President informed the citizens of the republic that journalists were ‘enemies of the people’,” he said in another post.
Still going toe-to-toe with Trump supporters, Simon kept responding to tweets attacking his statements on Friday morning.
“The gun has been fired. My friends were killed at their desks doing work that the US President says makes them ‘enemies of the people’,” Simon wrote responding to a tweet. “He said it aloud. Words have meaning.”
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