Yesterday the Joe Biden campaign crashed like a drunken Humpty Dumpty falling off a wall. As it lies in pieces, rotting on the ground, I watched in horror as the Democrat’s pet press carefully reassembled the pieces with fake news glue. And it might be working!
It all started at a campaign event in Iowa, when Joel Pollak of Breitbart News asked Biden if he was aware that the central theme of his campaign was built on a lie. It turns out Biden was not aware of that. Or possibly he decided to defend his mistake anyway, because politics. But either way, Biden’s central campaign theme — that President Trump once said neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were “fine people” — was challenged in front of the public, as cameras rolled. Biden gave a spirited defense of his view and moved on.
So who was right?
This is an easy one to score. The disagreement is over the president’s comments after Charlottesville, which were recorded by every major news organization in the country. All the press needs to do is publish the transcript and let the public see for themselves. Did Trump call neo-Nazis “fine people” as Biden claims, or did Trump say the opposite, as Joel Pollak of Breitbart News asserted?
I’ll give you the two relevant sentences from the president’s comments on Charlottesville and then show the full transcript so you can see for yourself that I pulled the right sentences.
Talking about the protests in Charlottesville, President Trump said…
“. . . But you also had people who were very fine people on both sides. . . I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”
Here is the full transcript so you can check for yourself.
If you don’t trust the transcript, here is a video of Trump saying these words.
The president was crystal clear in saying he was NOT talking about the white nationalists and neo-Nazis, and that they should be “condemned totally.” Many critics of the president, when presented with the actual transcript, retreat to claims that no “fine people” would attend such an event. That is irrelevant to the central claim, because Trump stated his assumption that some non-racist protesters attended, then spoke to that assumption. Worst case, he got details wrong about who attended. But the clarity with which he excluded the white nationalists and neo-Nazis shows his intentions were not to compliment any racists. He condemned them in plain language.
As an aside, I have personally interviewed several non-racists who attended the Charlottesville event, and I can confirm that the president was right. Many attendees were fooled by the generic promotional materials that didn’t reveal who organized it, unless you recognized the names of the speakers who are not household names. Some attendees didn’t care who organized it because they were free speech advocates, and absolutists. And the attendees I talked to disavowed all racism. None of them “marched with” the neo-Nazis with tiki torches. They showed up, police immediately herded them away from the trouble that had already started, and they went home when allowed by police. That’s it.
But no matter who attended, the president spoke to his assumption that non-racists were there for free speech purposes. And because the “scandal” is solely about the president’s intentions, it doesn’t matter if he got some details wrong about attendees. What matters is that he condemned all the racists in clear language and assumed some non-racists (fine people) attended.
So how did the Democrat Pet Press report on the story of Biden’s central campaign theme being revealed as a lie? They report on it WITHOUT PRINTING THE TRANSCRIPT, and by using weasel words to suggest Pollak was wrong and Biden was right. I’ll show you how cleverly they do it. It is shocking.
USA Today wrote of Trump that “He claimed there were some very fine people on both sides.” That part is true. Now watch how they weasel-away the second part of Trump’s statement that clarified his meaning.
USA Today said, “In the same speech, though, the president said he had condemned white supremacy and neo-Nazis.”
Did you catch the sleight-of-hand? By wording it as “in the same speech” they leave the impression that the “fine people” comment stood alone as a compliment to neo-Nazis while suggesting that later that he said something contradictory. That is fake news. It was all one extended thought from Trump, not a different topic in the same speech.
Secondly, Trump didn’t “say he had condemned” the neo-Nazis, he actually condemned them, in real time, while cameras rolled. The way USA Today words it, they reduce one of the most well-documented facts of all time to a “claim” from a president known to bend the facts.
The Today Show
The Today Show falsely claimed Pollak was incorrect, without showing its audience the transcript. That is peak weasel.
The Des Moines Register covered the story without showing the transcript. They reported “Former Vice President Joe Biden said he was not misrepresenting President Donald Trump’s comments on a white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
After Biden’s Des Moines Register Political Soapbox speech on Thursday, Breitbart News Network reporter Joel Pollak told Biden he was misquoting the president when he quotes Trump saying there “were very fine people, on both sides” at the white supremacist gathering. Biden pushed back on criticism.
“Let’s get this straight: he said there were very fine people in both groups,” Biden said. “They were chanting anti-Semitic slogans, burning flags.”
How hard would it be to show their readers the actual transcript to prove Biden was lying or confused?
Yahoo News also covered the story without printing the transcript. They wrote “In the wake of the Charlottesville altercation, there has been an effort among Trump supporters in right-wing media to claim that the president didn’t actually call neo-Nazis and white nationalists “very fine people.” Trump, they claim, was talking about those who supported preserving the statue of Robert E. Lee and not the white nationalists who organized the rally. But there is little evidence the former group attended the infamous Friday night tiki-torch march.”
Why do they need to express the story as competing “claims” when the transcript and video of the event are widely available? It’s because the facts don’t support their story. You can bet that they would print the transcript, or at least link to it, if it supported their version of events.
Predictably, Politico reported on the story without printing the transcript. They wrote “Joe Biden on Thursday adamantly defended his assertions that President Donald Trump embraced white supremacists after a deadly demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., engaging in an animated exchange after his public remarks here.”
Again, how hard would it be to link to the full transcript? Or even the full video?
But how about the Biden campaign itself?
Amazingly, the comms director for the Biden campaign, Bill Russo, unintentionally acknowledged that the “fine people” theme of the campaign was a hoax by changing the subject when confronted with the actual transcript. See the Twitter exchange with Breitbart News to be amazed by it. Russo tries to weasel the conversation to the topic of whether Trump’s assumption about the attendees was accurate. That question is interesting, but not relevant. Trump stated his assumption that some non-racists attended, called them fine people, and “condemned totally” the white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
When the reporting is viewed together, it’s obvious what happened after Pollak challenged Biden on his central campaign theme being a hoax. The campaign knew it was in trouble and summoned its most loyal pet press to defend them. But they couldn’t defend Biden by printing the transcript, which is the only point of dispute. So. They. Didn’t.
We are observing the fakest of news.