I wrote the original version of this piece before there was a mass shooting at a newspaper and now it seems weirdly prescient.
Much as, to be clear, it appears that the shooter in the attack on the Annapolis newspaper, the Capital Gazette, had a long-running dispute with the paper, there is a deep vein of tension related to media in America right now.
The timing is scary.
Let’s backtrack momentarily.
You head out for dinner with friends on the weekend and you get kicked out of the restaurant because of who you work for and the way that you do your job.
That’s what happened to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders when she went to The Red Hen in rural Virginia for a meal at the end of last week.
Tweet by Sarah Sanders: Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left.
The restaurant’s owner explained it like this:
“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.
“I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.'”
The restaurant staff, a diverse group, took exception to the presence of Ms Sanders because they object to US President Donald Trump’s policies.
This was the President’s reaction:
Tweet by Donald Trump: The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The incident followed the controversy over the separation of children from their parents on America’s southern border, which again exposed the country’s deep divide over the highly contentious issue of immigration.
And then it was on for young and old.
California representative Maxine Waters blew it up further when at an immigration rally for the separated children she said:
“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. You push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”
Maxine Waters criticises Donald Trump’s immigration policy and calls for him to be impeached at a protest rally
She later said she wasn’t suggesting physical action, but she had already amped up the angst.
Tweet by Donald Trump: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party.
Tweet by Marco Rubio: Trump haters still haven’t realized how much they help him with their condescension of those who either voted for him or don’t share their hatred of him.
All in all it was a toxic week in which the various sides spat at each other from their corners and there was a whole to and fro about civility in American society and politics.
It’s the vortex of outrage, right? Difficult to find a safe ledge to sit on these days without being hit by the spray.
CNN’s Jim Acosta was caught in it at a Trump rally in South Carolina.
And here’s what I wrote BEFORE the Annapolis shooting:
A word for the proponents of the fake news outrage, let’s not let it overflow to the point that someone gets hurt. Ok?
I’m not going to link the two completely, but will only say that the more you make the media an enemy, the more of a target it will become.
A group of students confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transport Secretary Elaine Chao, as they were leaving an event in DC’s Georgetown.
Tweet by Roberto: We confronted SenateMajLdr and SecElaineChao with ProPublica audio of children separated from their families at the border while leaving a Georgetown event.
This became social media fodder as you’d expect:
Speaking of social media, here’s something really weird
Tweet by Justin Caffier: There’s a new security-guarded mural in LA that only allows influencers and verifieds to take pics in front of it.
A couple of other major things happened this week
Amidst the immigration debate, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Trump’s travel bans on people from Muslim majority countries (remember those) were legal.
As if all of that wasn’t enough to contemplate, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.
Now, that might seem like a bit of a yawn if you’re not ‘into’ America, but it’s really important.
Why? Because Mr Trump is now in a position to nominate his second Supreme Court Justice.
The court has the ability to influence policy for a generation given how long the judges stay in place, and Justice Kennedy has been a swing vote for decades; conservative and constitutional but a social liberal.
This will dominate the summer in DC, as the stage is set for a big fight in the fall.
Also, in case you missed it:
Amid questions about whether the issue of Russian election meddling will come up, Mr Trump tweeted:
Tweet by Donald Trump: Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!
(Just a reminder that the pair have met twice before on the sidelines of larger international meetings but this will be their first bilateral summit.)
Wisconsin-based Harley Davidson says it will shift some production overseas to avoid European Union tariffs being imposed in response to Mr Trump’s trade policy.
It’s “not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe”.
Mr Trump is not happy.
Oh, and on a happier note, Aussie Ben Simmons was named NBA Rookie of the Year!
If you’re interested, we spoke to him earlier this year.
What I’m reading
This weekend watch out for immigration rallies across the country.
Before I go…
We’d like to express our sympathies to the families of those killed at the Capital Gazette.
And in their honour (and also because that’s what we do) we will continue telling the truth without fear, or favour.
Oh, and PS: This wrap will be taking a three-week break while I take a family holiday to Yellowstone! I’ll be back in late July folks.