The Man Behind Journalist, Rope, Tree
We tracked down the guy selling shirts advocating for the lynching of journalists.”>
A man and his T-shirt, photographed at a Trump rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were the source of public outcry the coming week. In the phototaken and tweeted by Reutersthe man is turned away from the camera. The back of his shirt reads: Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Necessitated. Two girls, both white, one very young, and one very old, smile delightedly beside him.
The photo ran viral for obvious reasons. Violence, or its understood specterin general and against journalists specificallyhas been a troubling element throughout Trumps campaign. Now, in one photo, a Trump supporter and his guffawing peers were leaving little doubt about its knowledge of the Republican nominees not-so-subtle message on the media: Journalists should be silenced. In fact, journalists should be hanged from a tree, until they are dead, for doing their jobs.
What kind of a ogre, I wanted to know, would at best, gag, and at the worst, proponent for the lynching of journalists, the very people encapsulated by the the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the document that conservatives claim to hold so dear?
The seller and listed decorator of the Hang Journalist shirts, which have been pulled from Zazzle and Teespringonline shops where anyone can design and sell apparelis however, just a man. I reached out to him several times, but he didnt respond to my requests for an interview.( Unsurprising, devoted his view of reporters .) Although this person seemingly wants me and my coworkers hung by our necks from a strong branch, or simply earnings on other persons who do, I dont wishes to subject him to public ridicule or harassment and so wont name him here. But through information culled through public records and and social media, I can tell you about him.
Lets call him Bob.
Bob is a 58 -year-old Navy veteran who lives in a town of about 150 people near the Tennessee/ Georgia border. Bob has a wife and children and grandchildren. Since his retirement, Bob spends his time hunting and angling in Florida and Georgia, and sometimes he still picks up his old guitarhe plays largely bluesy stuff.
Bobs Pinterest board is a view into his aspirations: How to Camouflage Paint A Rifle, recipes for mac and cheese and chicken and dumplings, How to Stimulate a Moonshine Still, and instructions for an herb garden made with old milk bottles from the creamery.
Though Bob likely has a lot more in common with hipsters than he knows, hes also deeply conservative, and thats where these shirts come in. When Bob isnt eyeing designs for rustic timber log wall shelves, hes complaining on social media about the government and the media, which he sees as corrupt.
On Facebook, Bob reads and share fake news tales, like the one with the headline, Judge Orders Investigation Into Obamas Fake Social Security Number, and complains that the mainstream media isnt reporting it. He also posts photos of the confederate flag, and links to conservative country songs. Pissed-Off Rednecks lyrics run: Mr. stick-head politician, I got some news for you/ If you want to come, tryin to take my handgun, son you better be bulletproof/ And dont try to tell my children when and where to pray/ We aint that far gone, were still standing on the land of the free and the home of the brave.
He thinks Obama is a turd and Ronald Reagan a hero, and according to his Twitter feed hes voted for Trump, both in the primaries and in the general election. Twitter is mostly where Bob goes to talk to, or about, his nominee. The system is rigged, Bob tweets. And Construct a wall around Mexico and fill it up with water.
Bobs ideassuggestions that we drown the dwellers of a neighboring country, and slaying journalistsseem to align with Donald Trumps.
Trumps disdain for the media has been vocal and unrelenting. Reporters encompassing Trump campaign rallies have been forced into a gated area, where they were literally pointed at and criticized by the candidate during nearly every speech. These people are among the most dishonest people Ive ever satisfied, he lately said before a Miami mob, the same rally where he called MSNBCs Katy Tur out by name, continuing a streak of intimidation of female journalists in particular.
As chronicled by Anna Merlan in her piece on the shirt for Jezebel, reporters encompassing Trump rallies have been verbally harassed, violently grabbed, and choked and thrown to the groundin some instances by campaign staff. And lest one think this is all simply schtick, Trump has praised Putins tendency to kill journalists and political opponents with whom he disagrees as leadership.
As Merlan and others have suggested, Bobs shirts seem uniquely germaine to this election, and Trump, successful candidates especially obsessed with the media. And yet, theyre not.
The shirt in the Minneapolis photo was, according to the lettering( a larger type and different font than in Bobs design) likely bought almost a decade agodesigned by a conservative blogger known as Misha, who writes at the website Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, and bought here. Another design read Celebrate Diversity, accompanied by an image of 18 handguns.