C-SPAN said today that it reported a caller last week that threatened on-air to shoot CNN reporter Brian Stelter and anchor Don Lemon to the FBI, the latest crest in a wave of media-bashing led by President Donald Trump.
The call, made during Friday’s open-phones segment on the cable network’s Washington Journal program, featured a caller accusing Stelter and Lemon of calling all Trump supporters racist, and ended with the threat, “They started the war, I see them I’m going to shoot them. Bye.” It was replayed by Stelter during CNN’s Reliable Sources program Sunday.
According to CSPAN today (read the full tweet below), “a viewer who said he was from State College, Pennsylvania, called in to speak about criticism of the media. He made specific reference to CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and CNN host Don Lemon. He ended the call with what seemed to be a threat directed to the two journalists.”
The network said its host did not hear the threat, but that it followed policy on reporting it.
“Specific threats of violence made on C-SPAN are reported to the appropriate authorities. On Friday, C-SPAN reported the incident and all relevant information to the FBI. Subsequently, C-SPAN cooperated fully with CNN Security officials.”
C-SPAN said the show’s guidelines do include for hosts to cut off callers “who make ad hominem attacks or use indecent language,” though given “that this involves quick judgment on their part in the midst of a live television production, it can be an imperfect process.”
Earlier in the week, MSNBC’s Katy Tur said she and two female colleagues received notes recently from someone saying, “I hope you get raped and killed.” The note ended with “MAGA.”
Trump, a frequent critic of CNN’s coverage, on Sunday continued his media-bashing in general with tweets suggesting journalists are the “enemy of the people” and “very dangerous & sick!” and “can also cause War!”.