Public cable network C-SPAN says it reported a caller to the FBI after he threatened to shoot CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter and CNN anchor Don Lemon during its live show Friday morning.
“Specific threats of violence made on C-SPAN are reported to the appropriate authorities,” a C-SPAN statement said. “On Friday, C-SPAN reported the incident and all relevant information to the FBI. The network said it was also cooperating with security personnel at CNN.
During the live segment on Friday, a caller identified as “Don” from State College, Pennsylvania, railed against Stelter and Lemon and blamed them for inciting what he called a “war.”
“Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump supporters ‘all racists.'” Don claimed on Friday. “They don’t even know us.”
“Come on, give me a break. They started the war. I see them, I’m gonna shoot them, bye,” Don said before hanging up.
The threat came after President Donald Trump’s week-long tirade against the news media . In several campaign rallies and tweets last week, Trump accused the media of creating “great division & distrust,” and described them as the “Enemy of the People” and “fake news” — a term he uses to describe critical and unfavorable media coverage.
That did not happen on Friday when the caller threatened to shoot the CNN hosts. C-SPAN’s Greta Brawner can only be heard on the video telling the caller to turn down his TV next time he calls in.
C-SPAN in a statement said Brawner, “did not hear the comment.”
“Over the 30 plus years we’ve been airing call-in programs, we observed that the vast majority of our callers are respectful participants,” C-SPAN’s statement said. “However, if callers make ad hominem attacks or use indecent language, program hosts are expected to step in to cut off the call.”
“Given that this involves quick judgment on their part in the midst of a live television production, it can be an imperfect process,” C-SPAN’s statement said. “Airing of callers opinions’ does not constitute endorsement of the views expressed, just as we do not endorse the opinions or analysis offered by the guests on our program.”
Some members of the media have taken note of the increasingly hostile rhetoric against them, and believe it coincides with the influx of death threats they recently received.
One of these journalists include MSNBC anchor Katy Tur, who said that she received a note last week saying “I hope you get raped and killed.”
“Raped and killed,” Tur said during her program. “Not just me, but a couple of my female colleagues as well.
Tur also suggested there may be a correlation between Trump’s public condemnation of the media and the threats: “And in case you wanna argue that this has nothing to do with the president, the most recent note I got ended with ‘MAGA,'” Tur said, referring to the acronym of Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Stelter played the footage featuring the C-SPAN caller on CNN as an example that attacks against media were having an effect.
“I’m not asking for sympathy. I don’t think I’m in extreme danger,” Stelter said on Sunday. “I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff.”
“And this problem is not confined to CNN,” Stelter added. “People at Fox News and other outlets have to deal with this garbage too. But these kinds of threats are coming in more often.”