National Public Radio (NPR) reporters are now getting “Trump Training” to cover political events. It’s the sort of training that was once reserved for covering war zones.
Vanity Fair reports that NPR is offering its political reporters “a 90-minute crash course in ‘situational awareness.’ ” The Washington Post notes that this type of training is usually used “to help employees respond to hazards such as riots, mortar attacks, kidnappings or firefights.”
It’s no wonder that journalists should feel under threat. There’s been an alarming level of violence at Donald Trump rallies. Much of it has been aimed at reporters and the media. Recently, reporter Michelle Fields filed assault charges against Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. She alleged she was manhandled while trying to ask Trump a question. Time photographer Chris Morris was reportedly put in a choke hold when he stepped out of the press section. CBS News’ Sopan Deb was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground while filming.
Freedom of the press is a hallmark of our democracy. But Trump seems to think wiping it out is part of “making America great again.” He has ejected Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a press conference and barred others after they published critical stories. Trump has called reporters at his rallies “sleaze,” “disgusting” and “absolute scum.” He also wants to “open up our libel laws” to make it easier to sue the media.
So far, NPR seems to be the only news organization to offer this special training. But it would not be a surprise if other news outlets follow suit. The Republican convention is coming up this summer and it may be contested. Trump has warned “there could be “riots” if he doesn’t get the nomination.
Watch Trump joke about killing reporters below. It’s worth watching for Cenk Uygur’s excellent analysis, alone.
Featured image screengrab via YouTube.