Don’t fall for it

President’s outrageous rhetoric a ploy to keep public angry, uniformed

Lest we forget that Donald Trump has memorized every one of the chapters of the demagogue’s playbook, including violence and intimidation, he reminded us Sunday (July 2) when he tweeted a link to a decade-old video clip of him wrestling—body-slamming and punching, actually—Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fame.

However, in this case, what Trump sent out to his millions of followers was a doctored clip with CNN’s logo superimposed over McMahon’s face. The news network responded in a statement, saying it’s “a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters.”

Indeed, there’s no question that, as a side effect of him taking to Twitter in that manner, Trump condoned retaliation against the network and, by extension, journalists everywhere. It’s not like violence toward members of the media is unheard of—recall how now-Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana) body-slammed a reporter who asked a straight-forward question related to the financial implications of the GOP health care plan.

Vilification of the media is one of Trump’s go-to forms of propaganda, although he took things up a notch with this latest overt message to his base.

While his official White House spokespeople deny that Trump has ever incited violence, all one has to do is watch videos of what he’s said when protesters showed up at his rallies. At one such event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump encouraged attendees to “knock the crap out of them” and pledged to pay their legal fees should they get sued as a result.

Trump’s participation in that WWE stunt in 2007 was just that: a ploy to get people to Atlantic City and into his now-defunct Trump Plaza. His goal nowadays is to keep the public—especially his supporters—angry and uninformed. He doesn’t want them to learn, for example, how devastating the GOP’s proposed health care law will be to low- and middle-class families and that tax cuts for the ultra wealthy are the true desired outcome of that flawed legislation.

In other words, while inciting violence is one result of Trump’s latest outrageous rhetoric, his real goal is to keep the public distracted. Our advice: Don’t fall for it.