WaPo | There are lots of media stories revolving around campaign 2016. We can thank CNN for many of them, including the drawbacks of placing political hacks on the payroll of prominent news outlets and of spending too much time airing Trump rallies. Fake news stories also have had a glorious run, as have the ethics of reporting on the FBI and the Justice Department; fact-checking organizations are entitled to a long post-election vacation; and journalism professors will be referring for decades to Election 2016 as a crucible of false equivalence.
The media story of the 2016 campaign, however, is the anti-Semitic backlash against journalists critical of Donald Trump. Political hacks at cable networks, after all, aren’t exactly a new thing; nor are fake news stories or overworked fact-checkers; and people have been griping about false equivalence before Donald Trump came along and invalidated all political comparisons. The horrific and voluminous anti-Semitic attacks against journalists writing about Trump, however, are new and very frightening. “I myself have never experienced something like this,” says Eisner, 60, whose resume includes more than two decades at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“This” is the subject of a recent exhaustive report by the Anti-Defamation League under the title, “Anti-Semitic Targeting of Journalists During the 2016 Presidential Campaign.” The study focused on the playground for this rash of hatred — Twitter, that is. Between August 2015 and July 2016, it found that 800 journalists were targeted in almost 20,000 anti-Semitic tweets. The top 10 targets got it the worst, receiving 83 percent of the Twitter-born anti-Semitism. As to the provenance of this madness, the ADL report chooses its words with precision: “There is evidence that a considerable number of the anti-Semitic tweets targeting journalists originate with people identifying themselves as Trump supporters, ‘conservatives’ or extreme right-wing elements.”