Robert Chain was arrested in California yesterday and charged with making violent threats against the Boston Globe and its employees, as reported by Variety. The threats originated due to the Globe’s coordinated effort with more than 300 newspapers across the United States to publish editorials defending the freedom of the press.
The Encino, California, resident who is a 68-year-old man, was charged with a single count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce. Chain will be taken to Los Angeles for a court appearance on Thursday before being moved to Boston for his trial, according to federal prosecutors.
The catalyst of Chain’s arrest was the Boston Globe’s call in early August to craft editorials that focused on the importance of the free press and to fight back against the barrage of attacks on the media coming from Donald Trump and his supporters. Hundreds of newspapers complied and on August 16 almost every city in America had a newspaper that took a stand for the free press.
According to the Department Of Justice, from the day the Boston Globe made the announcement on August 10, Chain made 14 threatening calls to the newspaper, with the final call on August 22. The threats included murdering employers of the paper, which he referred to as “the enemy of the people.” On the day of the publication of the editorials, Chain threatened to shoot employees later that afternoon, prompting the Globe to request a police presence at its building.
The charge that Chain will face comes with up to five years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
“Anyone — regardless of political affiliation — who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in the Variety report. “In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”
In somewhat of a coincidence, 72-year-old President Donald Trump addressed the issue of the media once again on Thursday morning, once again emphasizing their “dishonesty and “hatred.”
I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2018
Trump has made no efforts to dampen down his constant attacks on the media, and his supporters have been following his lead, with particular concerns from journalists that violence against the media is becoming accepted.
The tragic reality of these fears came on June 28, when the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, was attacked by a gunman, killing five