You remember this old bromide: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
It’s not true. It’s never been true. Your mother told you that to try and teach you some poise.
Words got a Saudi journalist killed. It has earned me sinister phone calls, some threats. I had to go over a back fence one time to get away from fellas waiting for me after a high school baseball game.
Certainly, the evil Saudi prince Mr. bin Salman (MBS, or Mister Bone Saw) could have learned how to kill journalists from other despots. But this time MBS got his que from Trump and Jared Kushner and crew, who routinely attack media and incite the ill will. Journalists look under too many rocks and they are unfair; that’s what Trump claims. It is not innocent blather by the POTUS. MBS has seen all the hate directed at journalists and was emboldened by it.
He had Mr. Khashoggi killed. Look at Donald Trump, Jr. tweeting out reports that Khashoggi was a terrorist as if to say, “So what?”
So MBS decided, well, if I can bomb Yemen and kidnap the prime minister of Lebanon, why can’t I rub out a pesky journalist? It is going on all over the world, right? The strongmen plunder the wealth of a country and when it is investigated they go after the investigators. Kill them, or throw them in jail, which is what the dictator in Turkey has done. His relatives are controlling the treasury there and running Turkey into ruin. Media not friendly to Mr. Erdogan are carted off to jail. Heck, the guy had his own security people attack protestors on our soil.
I suspect there will come a time when media covering a Trump event are attacked and dragged off and beaten. Maybe they will be handcuffed and thrown in jail.
So, you don’t think Trump’s words have an impact? They sure do. Wall Street and its fawning over MBS led to this murder, as well. There is no restraining him.
My time is coming. I was at the Auburn-Washington game at The Mercedez-Benz Stadium and was standing in the concourse with a media credential around my neck when some clown goes, “Look, the enemy of the people.” It is not harmless. It builds on itself.
What is hypocritical of this anti-Journalist sentiment by the right is the hollering at the “city” politicians. The right wants Kasim Reed brought to justice by the media. When the tax assessor overvalues their land, who do they call? The local paper. When they want their athletic son’s name in headlines, the media is suddenly a friend. I have seen it over and over in 42 years. You are a pal, until you’re not.
The good news is I have no friends in coaching, or in power. I have no athletes who are friends. When I have to cover them, I cover them.
Khashoggi covered the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and paid with his life. Trump had a hand in it.