‘Don from State College’ shooting threat reported to FBI

Lauren Muthler
Centre Daily Times

C-SPAN said Monday the apparent threat made by a caller saying he was from State College to two CNN hosts on air Friday has been reported to the FBI.

The incident occurred Friday during a discussion on the “Washington Journal” program, hosted by Greta Brawner, about President Donald Trump’s frequent criticism of the media.

“It all started when (President Donald) Trump got elected,” the caller, identified only as “Don from State College, Pa.,” told the host. “Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump supporters ‘all racists.’ They don’t even know us. They don’t even know these Americans out here and they are calling us racists because we voted for Trump? Come on. Give me a break.

“They started the war. If I see them, I’m going to shoot them. Bye.”

Stelter, who said neither he nor Lemon have ever called Trump supporters racists, addressed the incident on his show, “Reliable Sources,” on Sunday.

“Specific threats of violence made on C-SPAN are reported to the appropriate authorities,” the statement read. “On Friday, C-SPAN reported the incident and all relevant information to the FBI. Subsequently, C-SPAN cooperated fully with CNN security officials.”

Increasing threats: Stelter said on air Friday that he was not looking for sympathy and did not feel as if he was in extreme danger, but used the incident to bring attention to increasing threats against reporters.

“I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff. And this problem is not confined to CNN. People at Fox News and other outlets have to deal with this garbage, too,” he said. “But these kinds of threats are coming in more often.”

Brawner did not reply to the caller’s threat on air because, C-SPAN said, she did not hear it.

“When a caller makes ad hominem attacks or uses indecent language or obviously racist language, program hosts are certainly permitted to step in,” according to C-SPAN’s call-in policy on its website. “Given that this involves quick judgment during a live television production, it’s an imperfect process.”

An FBI agent told the Centre Daily Times on Monday that he could neither confirm or deny an open investigation, and the State College police said they are not investigating at this time.