Bluntly condemns neo-Nazis: Last Friday evening, Joan Walsh appeared as a commentator on the CNN program, Erin Burnett OutFront.
Burnett was discussing the fact that Bill Shine would no longer serve as communications director for President Donald J. Trump. To review the transcript, click here.
Why had Shine been forced to step down? Burnett said no one could succeed at that job, given Trump's endless array of wild and crazy statements.
She played tape of Trump's declaration that he would shut the government down if he couldn't get funding for his border wall. After that, she characterized what Trump had said about the events in Charlottesville in August 2017:
BURNETT (3/8/19): It doesn't matter who has had the top communications job at the White House. They all have had to deal with a president who creates his own problems, whether it's trying to spin why he's siding with Russia over his own intelligence agency...or attempting to explain Trump's response to the deadly white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.In that passage, Burnett aired tape of a statement Trump made on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Rather plainly, she seemed to say that Trump had said there were "very fine people" among the white nationalists in Charlottesville.
TRUMP (videotape): You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
Soon, Joan Walsh appeared as a guest. She seemed to say much the same thing as Burnett:
WALSH: Bill Shine was Sean Hannity's producer. He had no experience working with a broader, non-ideological, diverse group of White House correspondents, etc., so it was an odd fit to begin with.According to Walsh, Donald J. Trump had called the Charlottesville white supremacists "fine people!" Wide-eyed, our analysts asked us a question:
Also, Bill Shine did not insult three black women, as April was referring to a little while ago. Bill Shine did not call the Charlottesville white supremacists "fine people." So Trump is the reason he's getting crappy coverage.
BURNETT: Trump himself.
WALSH: Trump himself. It's not Bill Shine.
Did Donald J. Trump really say that?
With that presentation, Walsh joined a raft of pundits and hosts, on CNN and PBS, who offered variants of this claim during the past week. According to Walsh, Trump had called the white supremacists "fine people." According to Burnett, Trump had said there were "very fine people" among the white nationalists.
That same night, Anderson Cooper reported that Trump had said there were "good people on both sides, talking about neo-Nazis." As we noted in Tuesday's report, his guest, Max Boot, said this:
BOOT (3/8/19): As you were pointing out, the Charlottesville marchers who were saying "Jews will not replace us," those are the people that Donald Trump was praising as "some very fine people."According to Boot, the pitiful lunatics chanting that slogan were the people Trump had praised as "some very fine people!" And sure enough! On the PBS HewsHour that very same night, Mark Shields seemed to say the same thing:
SHIELDS (3/8/19): I mean, we're talking about a president, Judy—let's be very blunt about it—who, when the white supremacists marched through the streets of Charlottesville with torches, saying, "Jews will not replace us," said there's good people on both sides.Bravely deciding to be "very blunt," Shields stated a variant of Boot's claim—of the claim everyone else in his guild was making.
Across wide swaths of the mainstream press, reporters, hosts and pundits took turns All Saying The Very Same Thing. In Monday's press briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Jim Acosta and April Ryan followed suit, with Ryan expressly noting that she hadn't bothered reviewing the transcripts or the tapes in search of what Trump really said.
Mainstream reporters and pundits all said the same thing! If we had a slightly more competent press corps, a person might assume that this meant that their widely-voiced characterization was basically fair and accurate.
Alas! This being America's mainstream press, no such assumption can safely be made. These are the same rampaging "rational animals" who spent years, not long ago, inventing various wild statements by Candidate Gore and repeating their wild mischaracterizations over and over again.
Due to prevailing codes of silence, the public still isn't allowed to know that this remarkable conduct ever took place. As for the many dead of Iraq, it isn't clear that we "rational animals" actually care about them!
Mainstream pundits have behaved as a group in the past week, telling us what Donald J. Trump supposedly said. Tomorrow, we'll try to assess the accuracy of their repetitive statements.
For today, let us make our basic statement of purpose again:
Tomorrow, when we make our assessment, we'll be judging the performance of the mainstream press corps, not that of Donald J. Trump. We'll be assessing the behavior of our mainstream reporters and pundits, not that of the disordered man who made demagogic comments last week while holding the nuclear codes.
Meanwhile, let's get clear, once again, on one basic factual point. When our pundits and cable hosts quote or play videotape of Trump's "very fine people on both sides" remark, they're characterizing something he said on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
The pitiful march by the ludicrous, chanting white supremacist Nazis had taken place four days earlier, on Friday evening, August 11. We mention these facts to side with Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is being widely praised today, within our tribe, for saying there are still some places where basic "facts still matter."
Tomorrow, we'll look at what Trump actually said in the August 15 remarks which have been widely characterized. When we do, we'll try to assess the accuracy of the things our "very blunt" mainstream reporters and pundits have so bluntly said.
For today, we'll close with a bit of uplift. There was at least one major pol who did denounce the Charlottesville white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the way Ryan longs for.
Credit where credit is due! "I've condemned neo-Nazis," this defiant world leader boldly said. "I've condemned many different groups," he said as he continued, rather plainly adding "white supremacists" to his list.
Later, he made his intentions even more clear as he bravely continued. He sought to specify who he wasn't praising in his wider set of remarks:
"I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally," this inspiring figure explicitly said. If only people like Donald J. Trump were willing to issue such statements!
If only more political leaders were willing to condemn our neo-Nazis! Tomorrow, we'll answer the comical question Ryan posed to Huckabee Sanders:
How about the disordered Trump? Has he ever done such a thing?
Tomorrow: Assessing the work of the press