The past few weeks have seen journalists express hatred for a Gold Star father, Donald Trump and the National Anthem itself, but at the same time show love for an anti-Trump Republican and sympathy for failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Gold Star father and White House chief of staff John Kelly’s criticism of a liberal congresswoman caused MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to rant about the Gold Star father’s supposed racism and misogynism. Donald Trump’s defense of the National Anthem made CNN’s Brian Stelter question “Is President Trump a racist?” Other journalists like the Detroit Free Press’s Stephen Henderson and CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill attacked the Anthem itself as a “white supremacist” “affirmation of the American empire.”
But in the past month journalists and hosts have hailed unpopular and outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake as a mythic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” hero for slamming Trump in his retirement speech. They’ve also offered words of sympathy for failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as NBC Today host Matt Lauer asked Clinton if the rejection of the voters still “hurt?” and ABC’s The View co-host Joy Behar pried: “Did you cry? Did Bill cry?”
The following is a collection of the worst journalist outbursts from the past few weeks:
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Gen. John Kelly a Racist Who “Dehumanized” Liberal Congresswoman
“[White House Chief of Staff John Kelly] took time, a lot of extra time, to call a black woman [Rep. Frederica Wilson] who he doesn’t know and he doesn’t like an empty barrel...But I was stunned. Stunned when I watched him dehumanize her and very deliberately continue to dehumanize her and refuse to give her the dignity of a name and call her an empty barrel....You saw John Kelly began to slip into a bit of stream of consciousness about what was sacred, when he was a kid growing up. You know what wasn’t sacred when he was a kid growing up where he was growing up? Black women or black people. And, oh by the way, women were not sacred either. They were not honored.”
— Host Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC’s The Last Word, October 19.
Unpopular Flake Latest Hero of Anti-Trump Media
“It is rare in the political world where you witness a moment straight from a great novel or movie. Today, I saw the junior Senator from Arizona stand in that chamber and deliver an indictment of Donald Trump worthy of advise and consent on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, October 24.
“This was our Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where you had a senator saying on the floor that the President of the United States in his party was a threat to constitutional norms, societal norms, and our children.”
— Co-host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, October 25.
“You know Joe McCarthy started in the late forties his crusade of indecency and smears and lies. And you know President Trump and Joe McCarthy are very different historical figures, but there is something similar....People are gonna look back at this era and say what were you doing with all – it’s not McCarthyism but it’s something else – all this indecency and all these lies, what did you do during that time?”
— CNN host Jake Tapper on CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, October 24.
Wouldn’t We Be Better Off If Hillary Won?
“In terms of protecting democracy, protecting respect for the Office of the Presidency and protecting our image abroad, is it possible in your mind to consider that it would have been better if Hillary Clinton won this election?”
— Co-host Matt Lauer’s question to Sen. Jeff Flake on NBC’s Today, October 25.
“If he is dangerous to democracy, as you say, should he be removed from office?”
— Co-host Norah O’Donnell question to Sen. Jeff Flake on CBS This Morning, October 25
Today’s Trump Republicans Would Reject Reagan and Lincoln
“I think that what has to be recognized by Republicans and many conservatives who have resisted Donald Trump is that the Republican Party as they know it is gone. This is a party that would never nominate Lincoln again, would never nominate Teddy Roosevelt. Certainly wouldn’t nominate Ronald Reagan. And that party is gone. They might as well get H.G. Wells on the line, get back in a time machine, and find the party they think still exists. It’s gone.”
— Political analyst Matthew Dowd on ABC’s This Week, October 22.
Commiserating with Clinton
“You write in the book about trying to come to terms with this idea that there are a lot of people in this country who simply don’t like you, not for political reasons, but it seems more personal reasons. At this stage in your life, does even having to ask yourself the question of why, hurt?”
— Co-host Matt Lauer’s question to Hillary Clinton, on to promote her book What Happened, as aired on NBC’s Today, September 13.
“I was positive you were going to win. Everyone was. Then when I saw that you weren’t, we showed a picture. I went into mourning. I had a veil....People were crying. It was like at a certain moment we were on the air when I realized you were not going to win. I felt like I had lost a friend or something....Did you cry? Did Bill cry?”
— Co-host Joy Behar to Hillary Clinton on ABC’s The View, September 13.
Mika’s “Mind Meld” with North Korean Propagandists
Correspondent Keir Simmons: “I spoke to one Lieutenant Colonel who is based here [North Korea]. I asked him: what do you think of President Trump? He, quite plainly, said he believes that President Trump is mentally ill.”...
Co-Host Mika Brzezinski: “And Joe, a couple things that come to mind here. First of all, they’re saying what a lot of people are thinking, that the President is mentally ill. It’s considered inappropriate to say.”
Co-Host Joe Scarborough: “I was gonna say, I was gonna say, Mika, you’ve got a mind meld with some people in North Korea.”
— MSNBC’s Morning Joe, October 19.
Trump Willing To Let American Die, To Get His Way
“I’ve never seen a President of the United States willing to hurt Americans to get his way. Willing to have Americans be sick. Willing to have Americans, you know, possibly lose their lives, watch their children with conditions, because he wants to get his way. I haven’t seen that before.”
— CNN political analyst Van Jones on ABC’s This Week, October 15.
Angry at “Emperor” Trump
“Jim, why aren’t you saying the President is acting like an emperor and his job is to execute laws that are passed, not write his own and Congress must hold him into account for doing so?”
— Host Chris Cuomo to Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, discussing President Trump ending ObamaCare subsidies, as aired on CNN’s New Day, October 13.
America Doesn’t Deserve to Be “Arbiter” on Nukes
“Why is it the only nation on Earth to have set off nuclear weapons in anger, they have flown through two of our bomb bay doors and no other nation, gets to kind of be the arbiter of who else gets to have them on the planet?”
— Host Brian Williams on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour, October 11.
Republicans Believe in a “Religious” Right to a Tank
“Well, you know what the Republicans say in their platform? That the right to bear arms precedes the Constitution. It’s a God-given, sort of theological right. They treat this like religion. ...I don’t know how to explain it. It’s a religious, essential notion to them that everybody should have any kind of gun they want, any – a bazooka, a tank. They never put a limit on it, ever.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, October 5.
Criticizing the Press = Slippery Slope to Totalitarianism
“It [Trump’s “fake news” charge] is very, very dangerous, I think, Andrea, because when people try to undermine the press, this is one of the foundations of democracy. A democracy depends on having access to independently gathered information that they can compare to the government’s version of events. That’s what sets us off from a totalitarian society. And if you don’t have that, you can’t have our kind of democracy.”
— CBS News political contributor Bob Schieffer on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, October 6.
Any Press Hostility to Trump is All His Fault
“They [Trump administration] have created a very hostile atmosphere. It’s not that we had such a wonderful relationship with the previous administration. There’s sometimes an assumption that the press had a warm, cozy relationship with the Obama administration. That wasn’t the case. We had a lot of conflicts with the Obama administration....there wasn’t a warm relationship.”
— Washington Post chief Marty Baron on CNN’s Reliable Sources, October 8.
Trump Supporters Want “Eugenics” to “Eliminate” Minorities
“We talk a lot about fascism, but let’s also talk about eugenics, which is the betterment of the race led by white supremacy to basically move poor people, people of color to eliminate us.
This attack on health care is a piece of eugenics. Not naming Puerto Rico as U.S. citizens is eugenics. Trying to deport families or separate them is eugenics. So I think a lot of the people who have willingly put this person in office are willing to forego their access to basic health care and clean air in order to annihilate, like, eliminate a group of people that are U.S. citizens because of racism in this country.”
— Black Joy Mixtape co-host Amber J. Phillips on TV One’s News One Now, October 13.
Dismissing Reagan’s Legacy on Tax Cuts
“For what it’s worth, there has been no study that has been able to somehow reinforce this idea that tax cuts do translate to economic growth. The one time it did was when we went down from 90 percent with Kennedy down and got rid of that tax hike, but where is the analysis here? I know you guys scrubbed one from the Treasury Department on one having to do with corporate tax cuts. Where is the analysis that says this is going to lead to economic growth?”
— Host Chuck Todd to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on NBC’s Meet the Press, October 1. “The prosperity of the 1980s, with growth rates higher than 6 percent, proved the Gipper [Ronald Reagan] correct...The Reagan tax-rate reductions increased tax revenues from $500 billion to $1 trillion by the end of the 1980s.” – Former Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner in July 13, 2015 Washington Times column.
Trashing Trump’s Tax Plan
“Donald Trump ran for president promising to fight for the middle class against the elites as President Trump just released a tax plan that benefits the elites. In other words, the plan directly helps people like Donald Trump and his family...He’s the opposite of Robin Hood. He’s the Sheriff of Nottingham.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, September 28.
Trump = “Flat-Out, Full Racist”
“Donald Trump is a racist. He isn’t just a white supremacist – he’s a flat-out, full racist, and unless your definition of a racist is you hung somebody from a tree, he is a racist.”
— Former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston about ESPN’s Jemele Hill calling Trump a “white supremacist, as aired on MSNBC’s AM Joy, September 16.
Respecting Anthem = Racism
“This story is ultimately about patriotism, it is about the right to protest, it is about what it means to be an American. And the subtext, the awkward subtext, is a question we asked a few weeks ago on this program: Is President Trump a racist? Is he making racist appeals to his supporters?”
— Host Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources, September 24.
“Some of the words of the National Anthem are white supremacist....I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words.”
— Detroit Free Press writer Stephen Henderson on NBC’s Meet the Press, September 24.
Standing For National Anthem is “Affirmation of American Empire”
“It’s a political statement to pledge allegiance to the flag. It’s a political statement to stand for the singing of the National Anthem. The fact is, Colin Kaepernick and me and many other people simply have different politics. It’s not neutral to pledge allegiance or sing the National Anthem. It’s an affirmation of the American empire.”
— Political analyst Marc Lamont Hill on CNN Newsroom, September 23.
Reaction to Bad Burrito or Trump Win?
“The room goes wavy. My stomach churns. I can feel the bile in the back of my throat.”
— NBC correspondent Katy Tur describing her reaction to Donald Trump’s victory in her book Unbelievable, released on September 12.
Save the World, Delete the Tweets
“We have become desensitized to these tweets and that they are dangerous...It’s not the madman [North Korean dictator Kim Jon Un] with his hand on the button, it’s his, it’s the madman [Donald Trump] with his finger on his Blackberry or whatever iPhone that could tweet.”
— Co-host Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, September 18.
Romanticizing the Revolution
“For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.”
— September 25 tweet from The New York Times’ official Twitter account.