If there is any group of professionals who are hated as much, if not more, than politicians and lawyers, it would have to be journalists. All you need for proof of that is that the Montana man running for Congress, who body slammed a reporter, won the election.
I had some experience into how the public feels about reporters back in the 1990s when I covered the news for this paper. While nobody came to the office to body slam me, I did get angry phone calls on three occasions over stories I wrote. While none of the callers claimed that the stories were untrue or biased, they were just plain mad that they had been reported. In those calls, I was accused of destroying two churches, and there were questions about my IQ and the legitimacy of my birth.
I don't doubt that there have been plenty of times when a politician has wanted to body slam a reporter, but this is the first time that one of them acted on that impulse. This is just another example of how people have become empowered to act on their darker impulses. And yes, some of the blame for that lies with Donald Trump.
From the minute Trump began his campaign, he appealed to our anger, prejudices, and fears. He wasn't the first presidential candidate to do so, but he was the first one to do it and end up getting elected.
Just take a look back at his campaign. In his first speech, he labeled Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists. He promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and get Mexico to pay for it. He called for a total ban on Muslim immigrants.
He mocked a disabled man, partly because he was a reporter who wrote something he didn't like. He bragged about treating women as his property, both at the beauty contests he owned and at public appearances. He accused a judge of not being able to judge him fairly because of his Mexican heritage.
At his rallies, he encouraged violence, once saying he wanted to punch someone in the face. He egged on his supporters to drag hecklers out of rallies. He promised to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, and urged his followers to chant, "Lock Her Up."
And of course, like every successful demagogue, he made the press Public Enemy No. 1. Every story he didn't like was "fake news." He attacked reputable press operations while citing stories in the National Enquirer. He wanted to make it easier to sue the press for libel and pointed out reporters at his rallies while urging people to attack them. Before and after the election, he called the press an enemy of the people.
Despite all of that, plus enough gaffes to have destroyed any other candidate in the past, he won. Because of that, some people feel free to say publicly what they kept hidden before. People have no problem yelling at anyone who doesn't look like them that they are about to be thrown out of the country. The rules of basic human decency no longer apply to some people.
Donald Trump created this atmosphere, so he has to accept some of the blame for it. However, he is not alone in the blame. The people who voted him into office share that blame, as well as those Montana voters who sent a body slammer to Congress.