Threatening people you don’t like, even controversial cable news hosts, is not productive.
Well, yes, one might say. Responding to views you dislike with violence or violent threats is clearly wrong. That should be pretty obvious. But apparently it’s not obvious to everyone.
Yesterday evening, about 20 people showed up in front of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s home. A video posted to Twitter by the group Smash Racism D.C., which has since been suspended from the platform, revealed what the protesters were saying.
“Tucker Carlson, we are outside your home,” said one person with a bullhorn, according to The Washington Post. “We want you to know, we know where you sleep at night.” The other protesters reiterated the point, chanting: “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!”
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Smash Racism D.C. had an ominous warning for the conservative TV host: “Each night you remind us that we are not safe. Tonight, we remind you that you are not safe either.”
Carlson, who was at his office prepping for his show at the time, claims the activists damaged his door. Moreover, he claims that security video shows a protester mentioning a “pipe bomb.”
It’s not clear how the protesters were able to find Carlson’s home address—but once they did, they doxxed him. Smash Racism D.C. posted his address (as well as the address of his friend and Daily Caller co-founder Neil Patel) to Twitter.
Meanwhile, an Arkansas man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly making death threats against CNN anchor Don Lemon. According to a press release from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, 39-year-old Benjamin Craig Matthews has been charged with “terroristic threatening” (five counts in the first degree, four in the second) and harassing communications (nine counts).
In one of his calls to CNN, Matthews allegedly threatened to beat up Lemon. It didn’t end there, the Baxter Bulletin reports:
The next day, Matthews is accused of calling the network six times in the span of 23 minutes. During one of the calls Matthews reportedly asked to be directed to Lemon’s “dead body hanging from a tree.”
During another call in that short span, Matthews reportedly asked the operator to help kill Lemon.
One Nov. 2, the next, Matthews is accused of placing another six calls to the network during another 23-minute time span. In three of those calls, Matthews is accused of asking his calls be directed to “pipe bombs for Don Lemon.
If Smash Racism D.C.’s goal was bring attention to how horrible Carlson is, then its actions backfired badly. In Matthews’ case, it’s not even clear what the goal was. In both incidents, it’s highly unlikely that the threats made anyone change their views about Carlson or Lemon; nor are Carlson and Lemon likely to change their public positions. Even if the protests “worked,” of course, that wouldn’t make them right: It should go without saying that while protesting someone’s views is perfectly acceptable, doxxing them and making violent threats is not.
It should go without saying, but apparently it needs to be said.
Reason · by Joe Setyon · November 8, 2018