Let me ask you, readers, if you feel I’m going a little far when I suggest that I’m frightened that some people running for the highest office in the land are encouraging mob action like it has not be seen since 1938 Europe?
To justify that statement, I’d refer you to the recent attack at the Colorado Planned Parenthood and the suspect in that violent incident, who allegedly stated during his arrest, “No more baby parts.” That line of thinking about Planned Parenthood’s services of course came from presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
Then there was the man who was literally attacked by a mob at a Donald Trump rally when he disrupted the speaker over the issue of the Black Lives Matter campaign. The candidate did nothing to stop it, and it has been suggested that his security was even part of the mob. The following day, that candidate blamed the victim, saying “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
This worries me, since it seems America is not noticing this wave of violence connected to political campaigns. Now I must admit I’m sensitive to this issue: I’m Jewish, and a similar wave of attacks happened on a much larger scale in Germany when a certain man was running for office, a name I’m told you shouldn’t invoke — which leads me to ask, “are we censoring the accounts of these outrageous, violent and un-American behaviors?”
Of course the media have reported them, but most outlets would rather interview the candidates in the hopes of getting a news story rather than focusing on the incidents themselves. As journalists, we cannot allow these candidates off the hook. Let me explore how we can keep the pressure on them.
Mr. Trump, why was a man attacked at your rally? Why didn’t you try to stop it? Why did you encourage it? Why did you say it might have been justified? Is it justified when anyone disagrees with you? Would you act the same in the future? He at some point will try to change subjects, but the reporter should be clear: Mr. Trump, this is a serious issue and I’d like some answers.
Instead, every reporter has allowed the candidate to change the subject. And then when the next issue pops up, they always say, “Gee, we reporters all thought it was the last issue that would send him sliding in the polls.”
As to the other incident I referenced: Ms. Fiorina, did your words at the debate inspire this attack? Will you tone down your attacks on Planned Parenthood? Now that you have disavowed this act, will you tell your followers that promoting misinformation is equal to violence? And will you admit that you were misinformed about Planned Parenthood?
Again, we need reporters and journalists who do their homework, and then follow through. A good reporter does not allow the subject to decide where an interview goes, especially when answers of this import are at issue.
Recently, one of those Sunday-morning political shows actually did this. “Meet The Press” with Chuck Todd actually followed the issue with a panel discussion, while all the others, especially ABC, gave the same drivel coverage, or worse, allow the candidate to dictate the image their campaigns desired.
We need to stop taking this as a joke. We in the United States already elected a former actor as president; are we now ready to elect a reality star, or a fired, and failed, CEO? One is currently at the top of the Republican polls, the other at the bottom. And those in between? That prospect frightens me.
Yes, I’m a Democrat, and you can say some bad things about the Democratic candidates, but at least they don’t inspire mob justice, mass deportations, religious discrimination and closing houses of worship. Do those issues sound familiar? They were used by that little man whose name I can’t invoke.
(This column was written before the horror's of San Bernadino, and since many of those candidates I've listed above have made anti-Islamic statements, blaming a complete religious group. Imagine if we portrayed any other religion by the acts of those who have taken that religion to the extreme.)
Mark Segal is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His new Memoir "And Then I Danced, Traveling The Road To LGBT Equality" is now available online and at your favorite bookstore. You can follow him on Facebook at Facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at Twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.