RNC, Pro-Trump Super PAC Planning Ads Targeting Journalists Who Reported on Russia Probe

RNC, Pro-Trump Super PAC Planning Ads Targeting Journalists Who Reported on Russia Probe

Donald Trump has spent a large chunk of his political career trashing the media. He has called it “fake,” “phony” and “corrupt.” He has called reporters, networks and newspapers an “enemy of the people” countless times on Twitter and in speeches and rallies. This rhetoric has alarmed members of the media, who have warned the president repeatedly that it could lead to journalists being targeted for violence by his more rabid and unstable supporters. In fact, just last week a man named Cesar Sayoc pleaded guilty to sending 13 pipe bombs to Trump critics in the media.

Naturally, the Republican National Committee and America First, a pro-Trump super PAC, saw all of this and decided to help. Help targeting reporters, that is.

The Atlantic reports that the RNC and America First are gearing up to attack any reporters who uncover or write about any Trump-related corruption during the approaching 2020 campaign. The attacks will consist of 30-second commercials featuring anything those reporters have said about possible collusion between Trump and Russia in the past.

The idea behind this targeting campaign is that now that the president and his supporters are claiming Trump has been, in his words, “totally exonerated” in the Mueller investigation, nothing those reporters write about him can be trusted.

“Their tweets have all been screencapped. It’s all ready to go,” a source told writers Elaina Plott and Peter Nicholas of The Atlantic.

The campaign is part of a larger urge by the president and his allies to use the allegedly exonerating Mueller report as a cudgel on the trail over the next year. As The Atlantic makes clear, it is an urge driven much more by a need for revenge than by any real political calculation. Multiple Trump supporters told the magazine that they think the president needs to pivot to something else, and that continuing to harp on the report will just drive voters to tune him out.

Tagging specific reporters as “fake news” who helped drive the Russia story for two years might be a natural outgrowth of Trump’s bottomless sense of grievance and need for revenge. Getting help in this effort by the official party organs of the GOP and one of his largest super PACs is one more way that the party has completely surrendered to Trumpism, no matter the potential harm to other people.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.