Explosive devices mailed to political and public figures: Does the rhetoric encourage the violence?

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As explosive devices are found mailed to politicians and public figures, the issue of political discourse is raised.  Does the rhetoric encourage the violence?

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says, “The idea that this is at the hands of the president is absolutely ridiculous.”

The White House today is on the defensive, engaging in a responsibility blame game with the media, specifically CNN; one of the targets of the apparent serial bomber. 

Sanders goes on to say, “the very first thing that the president did was come out and condemn the violence. The very first thing [CNN] did was come out and accuse the President of being responsible for it.”

CNN’s anchors say that’s false. Jim Scuitto says, “I’m going to fact check that… every time I hear that false statement. The first thing we did was report the news. We were there. We continue to do that as the story develops.”

With midterms approaching, the anger on the campaign trail has been building. One Scott Wagner for governor ad saying, “you better put a catcher’s mitt on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”

That ad from a candidate that the president endorsed, but in the wake of these recent mail bombs, the president last night tried to dial it back, saying, “any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy, itself.”

But, while law enforcement hunts for the person or people targeting prominent democrats and the media, President Trump tweeted another critique of journalists, writing, “A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the mainstream media “.

That prompted democratic Senator Chris Murphy to respond, “The President of the United States is now blaming the attempted murder of Democrats on press criticism of him.”

Last night, the president joked that he was “behaving very well” and said that would continue.

–Lana Zak, ABC News 

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