Fabiola Santiago, a longtime columnist at The Miami Herald, ignited a firestorm when she tweeted out her hope that recently reopened beaches in the city of Jacksonville would diminish the number of Trump supporters as they died of Coronavirus. It is hardly the first time Santiago has made such inflammatory statements about Americans who happen to back President Trump. And it demonstrates a broader trend in the media that sees no wrong in wishing misfortune on political opponents.
“Packed beaches should work nicely to thin the ranks of Trump/DeSantis/Gimenez supporters in #Florida who value money over health,” Santiago wrote in a since-deleted tweet. (Carlos Gimenez is the mayor of Miami.) The flat-out death wish brought a hailstorm of condemnation against Santiago, who has been a Herald employee since 1980.
Even the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., reacted on his Twitter account:
“This tweet from a Miami Herald columnist tells you all you need to know about her, and based on their hiring choices, likely everything you need to know about the Miami Herald as well. Their flagrant bias continues to go on unchecked. Disgusting.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called this the “most vile example of media hatred,” during an impassioned segment on Fox News. A sentiment echoed by Trump Victory Spokeswoman Emma Vaughn, who said, “This deeply inappropriate statement — which the Miami Herald should fully condemn — encapsulates why trust in the American media is at an all-time low.”
Bitter and Abusive
Well, there’s more. A lot more. For years, Santiago has shown a hatred for Americans who happen to support Trump or oppose mass illegal immigration into the United States, and The Herald has given her free rein to vent her vitriol. Santiago has frequently painted Trump voters as knuckle-dragging racists. “From day one, the reality show billionaire has built a tremendous following catering to white supremacists with boisterous lies and attacks on minority groups,” she wrote in a February 2016 column as Trump was running for the White House. “His campaign rallies are like white-power revival meetings from which blacks and Hispanics have been aggressively kicked out.”
In October 2018, she described ardent Trump backers in their entirety as edging toward open violence at the behest of the man for whom they voted. She opined:
“The elephant in the national discourse is that our president is a straight-up bully unworthy of his office — and his diehard supporters act likewise, cheering him on, and, as we’re seeing more frequently, acting on their feelings with violent impulses.”
Santiago and other Big Media journalists have a habit of lumping all Trump supporters into one hate-filled mass. In her mind, Trump is the Klansman in Chief. “Rather than ‘raise’ anything, Trump’s point-based [immigration] plan seeks to reshape the racial and ethnic make-up of a demographically diverse country — and write a whole new narrative about who we are and what we stand for,” she wrote in an August 2017 column.
“To recast his own words, he aims to Make American White Again — and monolingual. We’ve traveled the road from pounding a not-so-veiled supremacist campaign message to drafting and enacting supremacist policy in only eight months.”
The Slurs Keep On Coming
Santiago even has gone so far as to grotesquely slur Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, who often serves as the president’s point man on immigration measures, as a “self-loathing Jew” for not sharing her open-borders worldview.
“But that’s the point of a Trump policy shaped by an adviser on immigration who spews white-nationalist rhetoric as truth, Stephen Miller,” Santiago wrote in January. “He is the son of liberal Jews whose patriarch, a Belarus farmer, arrived on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 in his pocket. His dishonorable self-loathing, which found a conduit in Trump’s presidential ambition, belittles our nation’s quintessential immigrant history.”
Santiago’s deep-rooted anger is not her only flaw. She is a writer with a flair for seeing all things through an overtly obsessive racial lens. In a bizarre October 2017 column, Santiago attempted to defend National Anthem-kneeling former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick by decrying what she called the white male dominance of the sporting world.
“To me, the most riveting aspect about sports is not the game or who wins and loses, but the human interaction with rules, especially the unwritten ones,” Santiago wrote. “Despite the presence and achievements of women, it’s still a man’s world. Despite the presence and achievements of blacks, it’s still largely a white man’s world.”
The Miami Herald is owned by parent company McClatchy, which announced in February that it would be filing for bankruptcy protection. “When local media suffers in the face of industry challenges, communities suffer: polarization grows, civic connections fray,” McClatchy CEO Craig Forman said at the time.
For years now, we’ve been hearing the cozy, nostalgic lie that local newspapers are a treasure that we mustn’t let slip away. Perhaps if local papers like The Miami Herald stopped employing writers who actively and transparently despise a large segment of the citizens in the communities they profess to serve, more Americans would be open to throwing a quarter their way every day to keep them around.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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All About Freedom of the Press
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Freedom and the Coronavirus
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Elementary School: Americans Protest Coronavirus Lockdown
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