Many of Trump’s supporters are highly critical of the news media, believing that various networks and publications are biased against the Republican candidate. Some have expressed their dislike for the media in a manner that is perfectly acceptable in our society, such as through online articles, blog posts or YouTube videos that never promote any type of violence against journalists. However, the more radical Trump supporters have taken an approach that is a lot more sinister.
In a recent tweet, Michael Karonicolas from the Center for Law and Democracy, has shared a message received by Politico reporter Hadas Gold. The Trump supporter edited a picture of her to include a bloody bullet wound on her head and put the Star of David badge that the Nazis forced Jews to wear on her chest. The message which came with the photo told Gold that she will be first in line for the camp if she messes with Trump, which is an obvious reference to Nazi death camps. The photo has since been removed by Twitter and the account who posted it suspended.
In some of the most popular posts found on image board 8chan’s “politically incorrect” section, individuals supporting Donald Trump have included the home addresses of various journalists who published stories opposing Trump. As many of them are Jewish, many kinds of anti-Semitic remarks were posted. Trump supporters on the board also shared ideas on how they could better harass journalists whose addresses were posted. One suggested that his fellow supporters should print out pictures of Pepe the frog, a cartoon image frequently used by Trump supporters that has become controversial lately due to its use by various right-wing extremists, then put the fliers in their doors like Chinese takeout menus. The poster reasoned that this technique would be more effective than mailing, as the targets would know that Trump supporters have actually come to their home.
The practice of publishing someone’s personal information is known as “doxing” in image board slang. Although the way users find the information is usually legal and involves searching through a variety of public databases online, such as court and real estate records, sharing someone’s home address on an image board like the “politically incorrect” section of 8chan is done with the intent of getting others to annoy and harass them. Image board users will frequently order various kinds of food deliveries and service providers to the home.
Various types of neo-Nazi and racist images or text posts can be found all throughout the thread on 8chan. One post shows Pepe the frog wearing an SS uniform and aiming his sniper rifle at an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jewish man referred to as “the happy merchant.” Many other posts accuse Jewish people of controlling the media in America, a conspiracy theory that has been going around far-right circles for decades and is highly popular on forums catering to extreme right-wing views.
Jewish journalists who published any type of content critical of Trump have been on the receiving end of harassing phone calls and online messages containing graphic death threats for quite some time. Some people in the media believe that the last few months have seen an escalation in how the most extreme Trump supporters attack the media. What started out as simple insults in article comments has now devolved into direct threats of violence that are clearly intended to make the targets fear for their safety.