FBI investigators tow a van on Oct. 26 in Plantation, Fla., in connection with the 13 pipe bombs and suspicious packages mailed to top Democrats and their supporters. (Eric Baradat and Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP)
Media critic

Journalists often say that they don’t want to become part of the story. CNN doesn’t have that luxury in 2018. Via nonstop denunciations and attacks, President Trump has made CNN — its talent, its reporting, its alleged “fake news” — one of today’s top news stories.

Proof came in images out of Plantation, Fla., on Friday. A 56-year-old Florida man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., has been arrested in the case of the devices intended to be sent to Democratic political figures and their supporters —  and to CNN. Video footage showed agents surrounding a parked white van of interest to the investigation. The vehicle’s windows are pocked with decals celebrating Trump and Pence, alongside one that declares, “CNN Sucks.”

So how does CNN handle that?

Straight on, as it turns out. Toward the end of the noon hour, the 24-7 network discussed just what that sticker means, as it displayed it prominently on the TV screen. Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent, commented: “That image, ‘CNN Sucks’: Of course the president didn’t direct this. He’s not technically responsible for this, but he is responsible for not just allowing the chant, ‘CNN Sucks’ at his rallies, but stoking it. Making clear that he likes it. And all you need is one, forgive me, crackpot. And we have been saying this for two years. And it looks like one may have emerged and that is the danger,” said Bash.

She kept going: “That is the reason why leadership is the way it is. And you can have an enemy, you can have a political discussion … but when you cross the line, it is extremely dangerous, and that is what has been a giant omission in everything we’ve heard from anybody at the White House.” As this blog pointed out on Thursday, the White House has appeared almost careful to exclude CNN from mention while discussing the targets of these devices.

More will be revealed as the investigation moves forward. Regardless of the findings, however, that van window demonstrates just how effective Trump has been in aligning hatred of the media with support for his presidency.

As if to underscore that point, someone yelled “CNN sucks” at a White House event that took place not long after Trump announced the arrest.