A horrific attack in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 left a young woman dead after a man deliberately plowed a car into a group of protesters.
In the wake of the attack, President Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence” in Charlottesville. He called the driver of the car a “disgrace to himself, his family, and his country” and called the attack “terrorism” and “murder.” He called the attackers actions a “horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing” and he flatly “condemned neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists.”
But the president also cautioned against making broad generalizations about all of the people involved in the various protests in Charlottesville, noting that there were people who showed up simply to protest the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee and that there were some violent “alt-left” protesters who “came charging with clubs in their hands.”
He stressed that people did not know “all of the facts” and they should not judge everyone who attended it with the prejudice that one side was pure evil and the other pure goodness. As things usually are in politics, it was more complicated than the narrative the media was selling.
President Trump said that there were some “very fine people, on both sides” of the Robert E. Lee statue debate.
Asked whether he was saying that the press had “treated white nationalists unfairly,” President Trump explicitly said that he was not talking about white nationalists.
“No, no. There were people . . . protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people—neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know—I don’t know if you know—they had a permit. So, I only tell you this, there are two sides to a story.”
President Trump clearly and unequivocally denounced neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and all perpetrators of violence. He also acknowledged that there were legitimate protestors on both sides of the statue debate. Many people protesting the removal of Lee’s statue were not neo-Nazis or white nationalists.
But this level of nuance and reasonability was too much for the corporate leftist media to handle. They insisted that President Trump was a deranged simpleton who deliberately was stoking a race war and they would give no succor to any suggestion to the contrary which might shatter their facile narrative that Trump supporters were primarily motivated by bigoted animus. The truth flatly refuted the talking points that media pundits and political operatives had parroted for years. Can’t have that.
And so, they simply refused to accept that Trump had said what he said. They took brief snippets out of context and ran them ad nauseam. With sanctimonious outrage, they browbeat anyone who dared to elucidate the full context of Trump’s remarks with such force and vigor that even many formerly steadfast Trump supporters bucked under the pressure.
Notably, days after the Charlottesville attack and President Trump’s comments, Julius Krein—the founding editor of American Affairs and one of those pseudo-intellectuals who strived to make “Trumpism” palatable for his peers by watering it down and cloaking it in academic babble—wrote a column for the New York Times titled, “I Voted for Trump. And I Sorely Regret It.” No doubt Krein’s Harvard buddies made it clear to him that his quixotic escapade into Trumpism had gone far enough; if he prostrated himself on the altar of the media, he might be rehabilitated and allowed back into polite society.
And this is why the continued blatant use of the same lie for nearly two years is so galling.
Most recently, former Vice President Joe Biden repeated the lie in his video announcing his candidacy for president. Not only did he repeat it, he cited the mangled misinterpretation of Trump’s comments as one of his prime motivations for running. His campaign is literally based on fake news.
Even Biden can’t be that clueless. And the media pundits who parroted the lie for nearly two years and still persist in the lie must know that they are blatantly ignoring context.
But they can’t ever admit this lie or, to put it more charitably, that they were simply mistaken. If they do, the entire delusion justifying their Trump outrage comes crashing down. They know that their swastika-wearing, cross-burning caricature of Trump supporters would go up in smoke and they would have to explain to the country why they spent the past three years slandering half of the electorate.
In the final analysis, this inability to acknowledge their errors is an assault on truth that is far more dangerous to the country than the miniscule population of real white supremacists ever actually could be. In their power-at-all-costs calculation, there is no room for truth, nuance, decency, or civility. And this, above all other things, explains the hateful character of our politics today.
God help them if they ever were to face the scrutiny and malice to which they have subjected President Trump and his supporters.
So God help them.
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