A man in California has been arrested by the FBI after allegedly threatening to murder Boston Globe reporters and echoing the rhetoric of President Donald Trump by calling the press the “enemy of the people”.
Sixty-eight-year-old Robert Chain, of Encino, reportedly began calling the offices of the Boston newspaper on 10 August, when the newspaper announced that it would publish an editorial — alongside dozens of other news outlets — pushing back on the president’s labelling of the media as enemies of the people. Mr Trump, in response, tweeted even more attacks, and targeted the Globe specifically in those tirades.
Mr Chain, according to a criminal complaint, then made around 12 calls in a single week, threatening reporters at the newspaper and saying he planned on ending their lives.
“We are going to shoot you motherf****** in the head, you Boston Globe c***suckers,” Mr Chain said in a call on 13 August.
“Shoot every f****** one of you,” he said.
Mr Chain also repeatedly called the reporters and the press in general the “enemy of the people”, mirroring language of Mr Trump who has frequently attacked the press over critical coverage of his White House.
The threats were taken seriously by the staff at the Globe.
Soon after the calls began to come in, the newspaper reportedly hired a private security firm and Boston Police Department vehicles were sent to the offices on 16 August, when Mr Chain threatened to shoot an employee “in the f****** head later today, at 4 o’clock”.
The threats come in the wake of the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis in June, and amid Mr Trump’s frequent attacks on the press.
The rhetoric has become so inflamed from the Republican leader that reporters — generally the type of people who attempt to keep themselves out of stories — have been forced to push back in some instances, and one CNN reporter has walked out of the daily White House press briefing in protest of the language.
While there is no evidence the Capital Gazette shooting was motivated by the president’s rhetoric, his general stewardship of the national atmosphere was called into question — and he quickly returned to attacks on the press after releasing a statement calling the attack a “horrible, horrible event”.