Man threatened to kill Boston Globe reporters, called them ‘enemy of the people’

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A 68-year-old California man has been arrested by the FBI for making repeated threatening phone calls against staff of the Boston Globe in which he said he would kill them and labeled them “the enemy of the people.”

Robert Chain, from Encino, California, began calling the Globe’s office on August 10th, after the newspaper announced that it was partnering with dozens of other media outlets across the country to launch a coordinated editorial response to President Trump’s repeated political attacks on the media.

According to the criminal complaint, Chain made approximately 12 calls in a week, in which he repeatedly threatened the workers at the Globe. “We are going to shoot you motherfuckers in the head, you Boston Globe cocksuckers,” Chain allegedly said on August 13th. “Shoot every fucking one of you.” Chain also repeatedly referred to the Globe as “the enemy of the people” and promised to continually harass and threaten the Globe “as long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States.”

According to court documents, the threats made Boston Globe employees nervous enough to contact a private security firm, and marked Boston Police Department cars were sent to the offices of the Globe on August 16th — the same day Chain promised to shoot an employee “in the fucking head later today, at 4 o’clock.”

Chain’s rhetoric echoes that of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly launched tirades against the media on Twitter and who also frequently labels reporters enemies of the people. “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their own hatred and agenda,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “Enemy of the People!”

On Wednesday Trump also labeled former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, who helped break the Watergate scandal, a “degenerate fool” — which is an online term extremely popular with white nationalists who make up the so-called “alt-right.”

Some were hoping Trump would dial back his rhetoric against the media after the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis in June, where five reporters were killed when a gunman entered the newsroom with a shotgun. Although there is no evidence suggesting the shooter’s motive was explicitly politically orientated, the tragedy heightened national concern about the consequences of stoking violent rhetoric against the press.

“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs,” Trump said in the aftermath of the shooting. “Horrible, horrible event, a horrible thing happened. In your suffering we pledge our eternal support.”

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