CNN Devotes Segment to Correcting Trump on Canada Burning White House

June 8th, 2018 1:14 PM

On Friday, CNN's New Day devoted an entire segment to fretting over whether President Donald Trump was correct by implicating Canada in the burning of the White House in 1814 as host John Berman spoke with historian Kenneth Davis, even though Trump was arguably not incorrect

Last week, the same CNN show similarly devoted a segment to a retired school teacher who mis-corrected a letter from the White House that was already correct as it was written because the federal government uses a different style guide.

On Friday's show, CNN host Alisyn Camerota cockily plugged the segment before a commercial break: "Okay, so President Trump accuses Canada of burning down the White House during the War of 1812 -- it was actually the British. The President's loose relationship with historical facts."

The segment began with a clip from the previous day in which Berman joked with Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy about the Canada comment by asking: "Are you still angry about the fact that Canada burned the White House in the War of 1812? Which Canada never did."

After playing a clip of Senator Kennedy joking that it was Russia that burned down the White House, Berman was back on live and finished introducing the segment: "But does the President know that Canada did not burn down the White House in the War of 1812? In a phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sources say the President told the Prime Minister, 'Didn't you guys burn down the White House?'"

After bringing aboard Davis -- author of the book Don't Know Much About History -- the CNN host began by posing: "I don't know if the President was joking or not, but give us the very short version of how Canada did not burn down the White House in the War of 1812."

In his answer, Davis recalled that the British burned Washington, D.C., in retaliation for the U.S. invading what is now Canada and burning down Toronto, but did not address whether it was arguably correct to implicate Canada in the attack on D.C. since that geographic area and its residents were technically part of Britain and therefore the war against the U.S. He ended up lecturing that "history does matter, and I think that that's the real issue here."

Berman followed up playing several comments President Trump has made about historical events or figures in the past that have received criticism, and then followed up: "You make a great point -- the President's not a Jeopardy contestant, but he is the President. So why does history and an accurate understanding of it matter?"

CNN's fixation with questionably correcting Trump on whether Canada had a hand in burning the White House is reminiscent of last week when the show actually devoted a segment to speaking with a cocky retired teacher who made a point of correcting what she believed were errors in a letter she received from the White House and then posting it on social media.

It turned out that -- according to FNC's Dana Perino who used to work in the George W. Bush White House -- the letter was correctly written because the federal government uses a style guide that is different from the AP style guide most are familiar with.