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story.lead_photo.caption Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39 - Photo by Baxter County sheriff's office

A Mountain Home man accused of making threatening telephone calls to CNN will be arraigned next week.

Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39, appeared Thursday in Baxter County Circuit Court over a video link from the county jail, said Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge.

Circuit Judge John Putman ordered Matthews to return in a week for attorney status and arraignment, according to a note in his court file.

Matthews will enter a plea in the case next Thursday, Ethredge said.

Matthews made more than 40 threatening calls to CNN from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, according to a probable-cause affidavit. He was arrested on Election Day.

Matthews has been charged with five counts of felony terroristic threatening, four counts of misdemeanor terroristic threatening and nine counts of harassing communications, which is a misdemeanor.

In several calls, Matthews, who is white, reportedly threatened a CNN journalist described in court documents as DL.

The calls began shortly after Oct. 29, when CNN host Don Lemon, who is black, said on a live show regarding people heading north from Central America that "We have to stop demonizing people and realize that the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them. There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban -- you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no white-guy ban. So what do we do about that?"

In a broadcast two nights later, Lemon referred to his previous comment: "I said that the biggest terror threat in this country comes from radicals on the far right, primarily white men. That angered some people. But let's put emotion aside and look at the cold hard facts. The evidence is overwhelming."

Lemon's name isn't mentioned in the court filings.

In one call, according to the affidavit, a caller asked the CNN switchboard operator, "Could I be directed to DL's dead body hanging from a tree?"

Another time, a caller asked if he could be directed to "pipe bombs for DL." That call was placed one week after Cesar Sayoc was arrested in connection with more than a dozen pipe bombs that were sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump. Some of the bombs were addressed to CNN contributors and mailed to CNN offices.

Another call spoke of "bloody pictures of DL cut up in small pieces, like the movie Saw," according to the affidavit from Sgt. Brad Hurst with the Baxter County sheriff's office.

Emails were sent to two spokesmen for CNN on Thursday requesting comment. Neither responded.

CNN has been a target of Trump. At Trump rallies, the crowds often chant "CNN sucks" and some people hold signs to that effect.

On Thursday, the White House yanked the press credentials of Jim Acosta, a CNN correspondent who clashed with Trump at a news conference earlier that day.

But CNN wasn't the only media organization to face hostility on Wednesday.

A protest outside the Washington, D.C., home of Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host and former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial writer, resulted in a cracked front door, Carlson told The Washington Post.

Trump frequently praises Fox News.

About 20 activists with an anti-fascist group called Smash Racism DC showed up outside Carlson's home on Wednesday, according to the Post article.

On Thursday, Smash Racism DC posted a message on its Facebook page saying "Fascists are vulnerable! Confront them at their homes!"

"Donald Trump, along with right wing pundits, like Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter, have demonized millions of people, including immigrants, Muslims, 'diversity' (code for black), and the left," according to the Facebook post.

On Nov. 2, an investigator from the Atlanta Police Department contacted the Baxter County sheriff's office about the investigation into Matthews.

Matthews' telephone records indicate that he also had made calls to MSNBC; U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; attorney Michael Avenatti; the Washington Speakers Bureau; and Planned Parenthood, "suggesting a pattern of harassment towards certain political affiliations," according to the affidavit.

The Democrat-Gazette reported Thursday about Matthews' arrest. A link to the article appeared on Avenatti's Twitter page.

"We are very pleased that due to the efforts of CNN and law enforcement, this man has finally been taken into custody for his outrageous and criminal conduct directed at CNN, Don, me and others," wrote Avenatti. "We want him fully prosecuted and a firm message sent."

Calls to spokesmen for Waters and Schumer weren't returned on Thursday.

Metro on 11/09/2018

Print Headline: Arraignment set for Arkansan suspected of making threatening calls to CNN


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  • ObieOne
    November 9, 2018 at 8:03 a.m.

    You wrote “CNN has been a target of Trump. At Trump rallies, the crowds often chant "CNN sucks" and some people hold signs to that effect.”
    You have that backazz backward! It should read “TRUMP has been the target of CNN since before becoming President with faux news reporters calling for impeachment with no bases, Personal character assassination of him, the First Lady and all his family”. In fact All Main Stream Media has reported 99.5% negative informatio, false information, and outright lies on Trump non stop. You Liberals are so Hypocritical it’s become a joke.

  • Cockeyedview
    November 9, 2018 at 8:18 a.m.

    This guy may have a few screws loose. On the other hand “DL” is a piece of crap and major sh-t stirrer!! If “DL” was white and had said what he said about blacks, CNN would have fired him on the spot! CNN is one sided and that side is far left. I won’t wear Nike and I won’t watch CNN!

  • Skeptic1
    November 9, 2018 at 8:47 a.m.

    Where is the article about Antifa storming the home of FOX News' Tucker Carlson? The mob vandalized his house and terrorized his wife who was home alone scared to death. The Democrats are openly inciting violence against conservatives and the media keeps whackos ginned up by constantly attacking Trump. CNN has become the open voice of resistance calling Trump everything from Hitler to racist, fascist, homophobe, anti-Semite, and so on despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The more success Trump shows the more he is attacked. The leftist media like CNN, MSNBC, and NBC are not going to stop until they incite a civil war.

  • ZeebronZ
    November 9, 2018 at 8:58 a.m.

    OBIEONE,COCKEYEDVIEW, and SKEPTIC1 said everything for me. I agree with all they said and can't think of a thing to add.

  • RBear
    November 9, 2018 at 9:14 a.m.

    The Trump demographic responds. The most issue illiterate in recent history as documented by their own facts.

  • LRCrookAtty
    November 9, 2018 at 9:31 a.m.

    Everything posted so far is fact, with one exception, RBear. Rbear just puts his personal opinion. Not about the article but about the people that are stating facts.

  • Morebeer
    November 9, 2018 at 9:32 a.m.

    Trump is going to get more journalists killed with his invectives on the press, calling reporters enemies of the people and railing at the press at rallies. Thomas Jefferson advised us that a free, aggressive press is a cornerstone of a free, democratic society. I'm surprised that the NY Times, Wash. Post and CNN, among others, haven't filed a civil suit against Trump. When these outlets break stories on his tax cheating, lying, etc., he calls it "fake news." Sue him in court, make him prove it's fake news. Argue that he's damaging their product and businesses. After all, it's Trump that has accrued 6,500 lies on factchecker dot com.

  • LRCrookAtty
    November 9, 2018 at 10:04 a.m.

    "Trump is going to get more journalists killed with his invectives on the press..."
    And the press is going to get more republicans injured and killed with their invectives on Conservatives. The MSM is larger than one man, but they do not care who they cause pain and hurt. They only care that they are losers and will do anything to try and win. The only problem is that nothing they are doing or have done is working. The only thing it is doing is getting people hurt and property damage in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • GeneralMac
    November 9, 2018 at 10:45 a.m.

    I normally never watch press briefings or even State of the Union speeches, but I made an exception .

    Observe the difference in how two men handled getting their event hijacked by jerks.

    Donald Trump........never backed down from two jerks ( a white male reporter and a Black female reporter)
    He refused to allow those two to hijack his press conference.

    Bernie his campaign rally in Seattle, two Black females from the hate group Black Lives Matter came on stage, interrupted him, took away his microphone and forced the rally to be shut down.
    Bernie Sanders, like a newly castrated steer) hung his head, backed up and allowed it to happen.

    To think some leftists actually supported that spineless eunuch !

  • mrcharles
    November 9, 2018 at 11:04 a.m.

    Amazing LRCA the independent like a bill o'liely.

    Perhaps the guy is just a nut and perhaps in merica with many nuts nutty things are said and done.

    Seems like the usual suspects for the authoritarian aristocratic Reich wing have short memories about the stuff said at DT rallies, the many rallies when President Obama was running for a first and second term, and even thereafter when he was just not disagreed with but vilely maligned , even his wife and children.

    As to DT children, Barron von Trump is basically left alone, but the older progeny who produce just cause for comment created their own bed to lie in.

    As to the wife from another country who helped get her parents to merica, her past of nude photos, which were her own business and verily I say are not worthy to discuss, but in all honesty must point out the odds of the usual suspects here and the DT lesser imps to in the reverse case of a democrat's wife doing nude photos , even snuggled up to nude women, would not ever let that transgression die out. Of course , without integrity they will retort they would be pure of heart and not say a word.

    I am against DT's impeachment at the moment, but who knows what is in store . But must point out the butt hurt Reich wing here , for once just have the integrity that you pronounce every day and remember the vile, threatening and suggestions of your side of the aisle. Remember we are just talking killer chimpanzees and as the ancient book says, Kill and not let anything that breathes live.

    Just because the bible has the word dragon, that doesnt mean dragons exist. LRCA is like the bible, statements made as if all the logic flows thereof due to a statement made.