CNN Lets Whiny Max Boot Call ‘National Review,’ Former NB Intern a White Supremacist

It could be said that faux Republican, CNN global affairs analyst, and Washington Post columnist Max Boot has lost his mind, but the reality is he hasn’t been cogent for awhile. Showing a Trumpian-like inability to take criticism, CNN gave Max Boot space Tuesday night to accuse National Review and former NewsBusters intern John Hirschauer of being....white supremacists?

So, how did we get here? First, Hirschauer wrote the sober piece “Max Boot Fans the Flames of Racial Hatred” on August 12 that took issue with Boot’s August 6 column blaming President Trump for the El Paso shooting and saying “white people” need to “get a grip.”

Here are just a few excerpts from Hirschauer’s piece (click “expand”):

Boot’s central contention is that whites in America are beset with a victimhood mentality, one that “can justify everything from a public temper tantrum to a shooting spree”...Instead, Boot denounces white-grievance politics (a politics well worth denouncing) while simultaneously granting other grievance groups a blank check to raid the expansive store of imputed guilt and collective punishment. As a matter of course, he favors any repatriation for injustices to which racial minorities and their ancestors may (or may not) have been subject — as long as it’s in an effort to “redress past wrongs,” as he puts it.

(....)

Boot sets up a Faustian choice for “white” readers: Side with the white supremacists and their detestable program, or sell your political soul to Max Boot and become one of the self-loathing whites so paralyzed by intersectional deference that they can hardly advance an argument without first reciting that neutered prelude: “As a straight, white, cisgender man with privilege, I . . .”

If Boot believes what he is saying — and I’m not sure he does — and assumes that “many” Trump supporters believe “that white supremacy is the natural order of things,” then he’d do well to provide them with a better set of options than white nationalism on the one hand and political impotence on the other. Surely there is a third way between a full-throated embrace of white identity and a supine adoption of the politics of self-hatred.    

A responsible journalist would propose a realistic alternative for conservative whites who don’t want to cede their basic political premises but who nevertheless reject white nationalism. But Boot instead goes on a meandering tirade with scant a coherent point.

Boot then cried wolf on Twitter hours later that “white supremacists” at National Review were being mean to him. Yes, really.

Because The Washington Post and Boot believe in gaslighting their team into thinking those who disagree with them are reprobates, they gave Boot space to respond by calling not only Hirschauer but the magazine a bunch of “Orwellian” “white supremacists” who were doing the bidding of Richard Spencer. 

Hirschauer then issued a brief rebuttal, pointing out how he’s “state[d] several times that white nationalists and white supremacists are evil people with repugnant ideologies.” But that wasn’t enough for Boot or the always-snide CNN.

And this brings us to what transpired on Tuesday, which came across as a painful, public airing of childish grievances by Boot. Host Anderson Cooper rolled out the red carpet with a tease and then intro (click “expand”):

 

 

Coming up, is it all or nothing now in the conservative movement when it comes to this President? If you push back on racially charged policies or racist statements, you'll be shunned by other conservatives. It's happened to Max Boot. He says the Trumpification and “corrosion of conservatism is why he left the right,” and he may have another new chapter to add to his book. We'll explain why, ahead.

(....)

My next guest has been writing a lot these days about race, hatred in America, the debate over the President's role in stoking the flames. Now, he's being accused of fanning them himself by a long-running conservative publication that he says he once revered. So the question is, why is the National Review taking on Washington Post columnist, Max Boot? He wrote a column last week that apparently touched a nerve with at least one of its writers. In it, Max argued that President Trump was playing on a sense of white victimhood in America. He wrote, “Get a grip, white people. We are not the victims.” The writer from the National Review,  John Hirschauer, fired back with a column of his own titled “Max Boot Fans the Flames of Racial Hatred.” We invited him on the program. He declined that invitation, but Max Boot is here. He accused the National Review of standing behind an article that employs the language of white supremacists. He's the author of The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.

Sorry, Anderson, but Hirschauer and National Review aren’t stupid and they correctly didn’t fall for what would have been an ugly liberal media ambush. If innocent high schoolers and an old lady on Facebook aren’t safe from CNN trying to ruin their lives, no one is safe. 

And if the referee has already made up his mind, nothing was going to be accomplished except Max Boot melting down like he did when actual conservative Scott Jennings let him have it.

Instead of doing his job and challenging his guest, Cooper played therapist in agreeing with Boot and mocked Hirschauer (see the transcript for more). 

This allowed the male Jennifer Rubin to insinuate that the William F. Buckley Fellow was not only a white supremacist but “a follower of Richard Spencer, not of William F. Buckley.”

Acting like a teenager hurt by nonsensical rumors, Boot whined that “I've never been accused, you know, by a mainstream publication before of being a self-hating white” and that National Review was spewing “filth” one usually “hear[s] on the dark corners of the internet.”

“It's heart breaking for me to see what is happening to this magazine, which once chase John Bircher’s and anti-Semites out of the conservative movement and now it is indulging in this kind of white supremacist rhetoric...It was a very strange article,” he added, which led Cooper to further mock Hirschauer.

Instead of coming out as a liberal like Stephen Miller wrote on Twitter, the out-of-touch fussbudget concluded (click “expand”):

Right. It doesn't make any sense, but it's just incredibly shocking and offensive for me to see this kind of language appear in what is a mainstream publication and it's sadly, I think, as a reflection of how even mainstream conservative publications are being Trumpified and are going down the same road that you see at Fox News....[T]hey don't want to go the way of The Weekly Standard, which collapsed, but, you know, to my mind, it's tragic because, again, I revered National Review. I thought as if for something better and sadly I think it's a sign of how far over the edge Donald Trump is leading, not just the Republican Party, but even the conservative movement, even the intellectual gatekeepers who I think have a lot to answer for in opening the gates wide open to the kind of racism and xenophobia that Donald Trump represents.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s AC360 on August 13, click “expand.”

CNN’s AC360
August 13, 2019
8:47 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

ANDERSON COOPER: Coming up, is it all or nothing now in the conservative movement when it comes to this President? If you push back on racially charged policies or racist statements, you'll be shunned by other conservatives. It's happened to Max Boot. He says the Trumpification and “corrosion of conservatism is why he left the right,” and he may have another new chapter to add to his book. We'll explain why, ahead.

(....)

8:51 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Trumpificiation” of Conservatism; Max Boot Responds to National Review Attack]

COOPER: My next guest has been writing a lot these days about race, hatred in America, the debate over the President's role in stoking the flames. Now, he's being accused of fanning them himself by a long-running conservative publication that he says he once revered. So the question is, why is the National Review taking on Washington Post columnist, Max Boot? He wrote a column last week that apparently touched a nerve with at least one of its writers. In it, Max argued that President Trump was playing on a sense of white victimhood in America. He wrote, “Get a grip, white people. We are not the victims.” The writer from the National Review,  John Hirschauer, fired back with a column of his own titled “Max Boot Fans the Flames of Racial Hatred.” We invited him on the program. He declined that invitation, but Max Boot is here. He accused the National Review of standing behind an article that employs the language of white supremacists. He's the author of The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right. As always, welcome. First of all, just talk about the argument that you were making in the piece that you wrote about victimization and victimhood.

MAX BOOT: My article was really a response to a public opinion poll that came out last year, Anderson, which showed that 55 percent of white Americans think that white Americans are just as much the victims of discrimination as African-Americans and other minorities. All of that is ridiculous. That is absurd. We know that there's real bias against minorities in this country. We know that they suffer. White people, who are the majority, do not suffer in that way and yet there is this victimhood complex which has taken root among many people, many whites, a lot of supporters of Donald Trump, he plays on that complex masterfully, but it's also — you see that with the El Paso gunman, for example, also feeling that whites are being persecuted, whites are the victims and all I was saying was snap out of it, whites are not the victims here. We need to escape this victimhood mentality because it is very dangerous.

COOPER: It's also interesting because conservatives used to make fun of, you know, Democrats and liberals for a victimhood mentality.

BOOT: Yes, yes, absolutely.

COOPER: I mean, when I was growing up, that was the huge charge against Democrats and liberals by conservatives and now they do seem to be — at least, you know, certainly Trump and others are stoking this idea of, “oh my God, everyone is discriminating against us and it's so hard to be, you know, a white male today.”

BOOT: Exactly. These — I mean, Trump really indulges in this victimhood complex. Even as President, he always feels like he's a victim of everything and he feels like white people in general are being victimized by Latinos, by Muslims, by other minorities. Yes, there is this victimhood martyrdom complex out there, which I think is very dangerous because it is really at the root of a lot of white racism.

COOPER: So this guy who wrote this article about you, he basically, again, declined to appear tonight, which is unfortunate, but he's basically saying that you are fanning the flames of race hatred. It's interesting because he doesn't accuse President Trump at all of fanning any flames.

BOOT: Of course.

COOPER: But somehow you are the one fanning flames.

BOOT: Right. This is the — this is kind of the double talk that Donald Trump himself engages in where we know that he engages in racism all of the time and then he says, oh, no, anybody who calls me out, you're the racist, I'm not the racist. You're the racist. So this is kind of an example of that same sort of reasoning and it’s also something that you see, frankly, among white supremacists because this writer accused me of being a self-loathing white. You know, somebody who basically doesn't like my race. I mean, that is a kind —

COOPER: That is classic sort of —

BOOT: — right.

COOPER: — white nationalist talking point.

BOOT: Yes, exactly. That is something you expect to hear from a follower of Richard Spencer, not of William F. Buckley Jr.

COOPER: If that's the end and sort of the companion piece to that is they always say, I'm not a racist, I just love my race.

BOOT: Exactly.

COOPER: I don't hate black people, I just love my race.

BOOT: Right, and that's kind of the vibe that you get from this article. I mean, I've never been accused, you know, by a mainstream publication before of being a self-hating white. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that I hear on the dark corners of the internet from actual white supremacist and so to see this actually, this kind of filth directed at me from the National Review, which is then, you know, a publication that has defined American conservatism since the 1950s, this is a —

COOPER: Yeah, William F. Buckley.

BOOT: Right, William F. Buckley, and this is a magazine I grew up reading, Anderson. I mean, I got a subscription in the National Review when I was 13 years old. It shaped my world view.

COOPER: You got a subscription when you were 13.

BOOT: Yes. I was a super nerd, that sort of thing, yes.

COOPER: Wow. That — I mean, you know what, it doesn't surprise me, but I kind of love that idea that at 13 —

BOOT: It explains a lot, doesn't it?

COOPER: — were your folks like, “okay, sure.”

BOOT: No, it was really my father who got his subscription —

COOPER: Oh, he did. He did.

BOOT: — and he said you need to read this and I did and, you know, Bill Buckley became one of my heroes. So it's heart breaking for me to see what is happening to this magazine, which once chase John Bircher’s and anti-Semites out of the conservative movement and now it is indulging in this kind of white supremacist rhetoric.

COOPER: The other thing that this writer wrote is, I honestly didn't understand it, was — he said that you had demonstrated that you hate yourself and that your writing was boutique and performative, which — I mean —

BOOT: I don't know what that means.

COOPER: — I don't know what that means. 

BOOT: Right.

COOPER: Boutique and performative.

BOOT: It was a very strange article, because basically it was saying that, you know, Boot attacks, you know — attacks on white people, you know, are basically driving them into the arms of the white nationalists and they're forcing them to choose between the white nationalists and Boot and his self-loathing whites. 

COOPER: Wow. Yeah. That’s —

BOOT: I mean, this kind of bizarre moral equivalent.

COOPER: — all of those people are reading The Washington Post and your column and going to white nationalism.

BOOT: Right. It doesn't make any sense, but it's just incredibly shocking and offensive for me to see this kind of language appear in what is a mainstream publication and it's sadly, I think, as a reflection of how even mainstream conservative publications are being Trumpified and are going down the same road that you see at Fox News.

COOPER: Well, in order to survive, I mean, that — you know, I think for many it's an economic decision, certainly, with some of his people.

BOOT: Right. No, they don't want to go the way of The Weekly Standard, which collapsed, but, you know, to my mind, it's tragic because, again, I revered National Review. I thought as if for something better and sadly I think it's a sign of how far over the edge Donald Trump is leading, not just the Republican Party, but even the conservative movement, even the intellectual gatekeepers who I think have a lot to answer for in opening the gates wide open to the kind of racism and xenophobia that Donald Trump represents.

COOPER: Yeah. Max Boot, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you very much.

BOOT: Thanks, Anderson.

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