The pipe bomb arrived at CNN’s New York City office on an October morning in 2018. The improvised device, delivered by courier, was one of 13 sent to targets across the country — all Democratic politicians, high-end donors and outspoken critics of President Trump. Michael D’Antonio ’77 wasn’t in the building when the package was discovered, but the CNN contributor and writer, who provides regular critical analysis of the president and his policies, was likely among those the bomber hoped to reach. And while none of the bombs, including the one sent to CNN, were detonated, it wouldn’t be the last time D’Antonio would face threats for his political commentary.
In the past few years, D’Antonio, author of “Never Enough,” a 2015 biography on Trump, has received several menacing phone calls and emails. He’s also been the subject of the president’s tweets.
“It’s a very strange thing to get emails that say, ‘I’m going to come rip off your skin and dismember you, and your family isn’t safe either,’ ” says D’Antonio.
A journalist for 40 years, D’Antonio is accustomed to criticism and name-calling, but never before has he witnessed such vitriol.
“It’s upsetting to have people express such hatred and creative violent imagery about you,” says D’Anotonio.
With the president’s near-daily tweets about fake news and referring to the media as the “enemy of the people,” public confidence in journalists has eroded to record lows. Amid the media mistrust, the Columbia Journalism Review reports that the news business faced its worst job losses in a decade, with more than 3,000 people laid off or offered buyouts in the first five months of 2019. Newspapers, according to 24/7 Wall St., have been the har