News anchors and pundits have repeated lies about Donald Trump and race so often that some of these narratives seem true, even to Americans who embrace the fruits of the president’s policies. The most pernicious and pervasive of these lies is the “Charlottesville Hoax,” the fake-news fabrication that he described the neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 as “fine people.”
Just to be clear, here is what President Trump said in the now-infamous Trump Tower presser on the tragic events of Charlottesville.
“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”
After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit:
“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”
While Trump frequently meanders off-script, these Charlottesville statements leave little room for interpretation. For any honest person, therefore, to conclude that the president somehow praised the very people he actually derided, reveals a blatant and blinding level of bias.
Nonetheless, countless so-called journalists have furthered this damnable lie. For example, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace responded that Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists.” Not to be outdone, print also got in on the act, with the New York Times spewing the blatantly propagandist headline: “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost.” How could the Times possibly reconcile that Trump, who admonished that the supremacists should be “condemned totally” somehow also delivered an “unequivocal boost” to those very same miscreants?
But like many fake news narratives, repetition has helped cement this one into a reasonably plausible storyline for all but the most skeptical consumers of news. In fact, Fox News host Chris Wallace recently pressed White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on why Trump has not given a speech “condemning … white supremacist bigotry.” Well, Chris, he has, and more than once. The most powerful version was from the White House following Charlottesville and the heartbreaking death of Heather Heyer. President Trump’s succinct and direct words:
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Despite the clear evidence of Trump’s statements regarding Charlottesville, major media figures insist on spreading the calumny that Trump called neo-Nazis “fine people.” The only explanation for such a repeated falsehood is abject laziness or willful deception. Either way, the duplicity on this topic perhaps encapsulates the depressingly low trust most Americans place in major media.
Really, how can you blame Trump for continually calling them out as FAKE NEWS? That’s what it is.