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The Good Fight's bad threat

Hammarskjold School continues to be closed for classes due to “threats.”  Let’s face it, with the number of shootings and bombings that keep occurring, especially in the U.S., it’s no surprise that the authorities are taking them seriously.

Odds are it’s just a kid or internet troll.  However, we cannot risk our students’ safety or that of the staff when a threat is received.  So the school keeps closing.

Obviously, a threat doesn’t have to be real to do damage.

Recently, the CBS drama The Good Fight was reported to the Secret Service for a threat against the Commander-In-Chief.  Apparently, a recent episode held “subliminal images encouraging the assassination of the president.”

At first blush, this story sounds ludicrous.  However, it was not reported by a viewer wearing a tinfoil hat or someone confused by the letters in his Alphabets cereal.

The official CBS Twitter account for the show sent out an image from the episode in which an NSA researcher recording a phone call points to a list of “target words” that he is listening for.  They include “assassinate,” “president”, and “Trump” – in that order.

Now, you might still find all this rather silly.  That is, until you read the CBS tweet that accompanied the image that asked viewers if they caught the “Easter Eggs” in the list of target words.

CBS, its social media team, and its writers knew exactly what kind of storm they were stirring up in the scene.  And if audiences didn’t catch it during the episode, The Good Fight spelled it out for us on social media.  So it cannot be a surprise that Twitter users reacted.  And not kindly.

The Good Fight has proudly held an anti-Trump sentiment since its first episode when Diane Lockhart reacted in horror to the 2016 election results.  While it has occasionally poked fun at the both sides of politics, the writers have remained unabashedly on Team Democrat.

This is no show for a Republican at heart.  It wants to effect change.  And last season, it pushed the envelope when one character suggested assassinating the president.  (Spoiler alert:  They didn’t.)

So what exactly what CBS’ goal with this inflammatory Tweet?  Perhaps they believed that their viewers shared their cocky sentiment.  Perhaps they forgot that we currently live in a society in which violence is often the first resort – not the last.

The fact is, there are enough internet trolls looking for imaginary dirt to smear and for people to unnecessarily rile up without serving them fresh meat on a silver platter.  CBS’ actions were irresponsible and no better than Kathy Griffin’s severed head photo.  If it’s a good joke in the first place, it shouldn’t need to be spelled out.

Within days, the Tweet was taken down.  Yet the question remains:  Will it inspire a twisted mind to follow through?  Not likely.  But with the divide between sides getting deeper – and with jokes like this, uglier – in this day, is even one life worth the risk?