Politics Analysis

U.S. violence surges as Trump and Murdoch cash in on anger and hatred

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Cartoon by Mark David/@markdavidcartoons

The latest FBI data shows political attacks increasing again as Donald Trump dominates American politics. Alan Austin presents an update.

*Also listen to the audio version of this article on Spotify HERE.

THE CRIMINAL TRIAL of David DePape continues this week in San Francisco, USA, following his break-in to the home of former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and brutal assault of her husband, Paul Pelosi. The prosecution has shown videos of DePape attacking Pelosi with a hammer last year, leaving him in a pool of blood with a broken skull.

The defence has argued that DePape held a genuine, heartfelt belief that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen from Donald Trump by Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi. That belief came from repeated assertions by Donald Trump, by his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and by Trump lawyers Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis and others that deliberate election tampering cost Trump the presidency.

In recent weeks, Meadows, Powell, Chesebro and Ellis have all admitted in court filings that their claims of the stolen election were ridiculous concoctions intended to enable Trump to raise money from his gullible followers. Trump, however, has not yet conceded this.

David DePape’s trial demonstrates that the consequences of those malicious falsehoods are far more serious than just grifting money from naive fools.

The surge in violence continues

Immediately after Donald Trump announced in 2015 that he was running for president, he urged his supporters physically to assault their political opponents. These calls have continued since.

Federal police, state troopers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies all recorded sudden dramatic increases in violent crimes in 2015, or soon after. These included assaults, hate crimes, homicides, road rage incidents, child shootings, school shootings, police officers shot on duty and random mass shootings.

Perpetrators and victims of the violence included all age groups, with the surge much greater in pro-Trump Republican states than in those that supported President Joe Biden.

Hard cold data

The latest FBI data, just released, shows that in 2022, murders and manslaughters categorised as hate crimes rose again after two years of significant decline. 

Hate crimes FBI 98-22 Final.jpg  
This FBI data shows clearly the impact of Trump’s calls for violence in 2015 and thereafter. The surge that year followed nearly three decades of steady decline. Then came further surges from 2017 to 2019, which saw a peak of 52, the all-time high since this series began in 1991. That was more than double the second-highest ever, which was 23 in 2018. The previous high was 20 back in 1995.

The detailed FBI data reveals the surge has been strongest among White Americans who committed 5,418 hate crimes in 2022. That’s more than double the 2,658 recorded in 2015, pre-Trump.

The Turnbull thesis bolstered

Trump’s messaging would never have succeeded had it not been for the Murdoch media group, and particularly Fox News, deciding to back his campaign for president, amplify his destructive values of xenophobia and White supremacy, and broadcast widely his calls for personal physical attacks.

Thus the deal was struck. Trump chose Fox as his go-to media outlet to spread his malicious lies. Fox gave him in return unlimited time, uninterrupted delivery, and they seldom, if ever, fact-checked his claims, however absurd and damaging.

The central role of Fox News has been identified by many astute observers, including former conservative Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull told NPR in the USA in mid-2022 that:

“Fox News has played, by far, the largest single part in the polarisation of American politics, in the amplification of political hatred... Fox News is not the only source of this madness, but it is by far the single most influential one.”

Murdoch still generates hatred and violence

A prominent article in Murdoch’s New York Post last Tuesday was headed: ‘Why isn’t Biden demanding Hamas release its American hostages?’ The accompanying photo showed President Joe Biden looking weak and indecisive.

Penned by the Post Editorial Board, which presumably means Rupert Murdoch himself approved, it condemned Biden for failing to have 'publicly, repeatedly and forcefully pushed Hamas for releases' of Israeli hostages taken in October.

Of course, the accusations were completely false, as anyone paying attention anywhere in the world knew full well.

The first three paragraphs of a Spanish news report in Infobae translate as:

Washington, October 23. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, demanded on Monday the release of the Hamas hostages before exploring a possible ceasefire to the Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip. "The hostages have to be released and then we can talk," he responded when asked by journalists if he would accept an agreement to release the hostages in exchange for a ceasefire. Biden made this comment at a public event at the White House...

Similar reports of Biden’s immediate public call for Hamas to release the hostages appeared in Indonesia, France, India, Australia, Britain and elsewhere, virtually worldwide.

Clearly, the purpose of the New York Post’s “story” was not to inform readers but to fuel further anger and hatred against the President.

This worked. One angry but deluded American reader posted on social media that this article shows 'the senile Biden’s... craven genuflection toward the pro-Hamas wing of the Democrat Party'. Others agreed.

And somewhere among Murdoch’s millions of profoundly ignorant subscribers, almost certainly, is another hate-filled psychopath with a hammer.

*This article is also available on audio here:

Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @alanaustin001.

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