In the past few weeks we’ve seen the media get excited for Beto O’Rourke while also blaming Donald Trump for the actions of a crazed shooter. Vanity Fair sent Joe Hagan to pen a cover story on Beto that left the writer giddy about a “gleam in his eye” as the “too innocent to be a politician” began his presidential campaign.
Conversely, journalists raged at Donald Trump’s reaction to the shooting in New Zealand, a tragedy they all but blamed on him. CNN host John Berman indicted Trump for using the same “language” of the killer.
Celebrities also attacked Trump over New Zealand. Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright oddly likened Trump to Osama bin Laden. Comedian George Wallace accused the “sorry ass excuse for a leader” for “teasin’ violence.”
The following are just a few of the worst moments of media outrage from the last month:
“You could see the charisma that he has on stage, that whatever you get a camera on this guy, he has this charisma, that was that moment where he felt he had some kind of destiny. He has that gleam in his eye. Somebody, Evan Smith at The Texas Tribune said, ‘Seeing him, it’s like a Jesus Christ Superstar seeing this guy in front of people.’”
— Vanity Fair writer Joe Hagan on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, March 14.
“Unlike Trump, [Beto] O’Rourke can appear almost too innocent to be a politician – too decent, too wholesome, the very reason he became popular also the same reason he could be crucified on the national stage. I tell O’Rourke that perhaps he’s simply too normal to be president....After playing coy all afternoon about whether he’ll run, he finally can’t deny the pull of his own gifts.”
— Writer Joe Hagan in March 13 Vanity Fair cover story on Beto O’Rourke.
We’re Not Saying New Zealand Shooting Was Trump’s Fault, But...
“The person who is giving a sign of allegiance to President Trump is the killer here. He calls him a symbol of white identity. The language he uses in this manifesto is all about invaders. It is all about invaders, which is similar language to the killer at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. It’s also language President Trump used in a campaign ad before the midterm election.”
— Host John Berman during CNN’s live coverage of the New Zealand shooting, March 15.
“The killer was using terms like ‘invaders’ and ‘invasion’ when talking about immigration and the immigration issue, almost the same kind of language that the President was using earlier today when he was vetoing that legislation up on Capitol Hill, rebuking his use of a national emergency declaration to build his wall on the border. So, the White House can’t whitewash the white nationalism every time, Anderson.”
— White House correspondent Jim Acosta on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, March 15.
“The question is can he [President Trump] and will he do more to bring together – try to bring together people. That’s the opposite of what we saw in Charlottesville and it is the opposite of what we see when the political calendar gets close to election day. When he knows what riles up his base and the problem is riling up the base using terms like ‘invaders’ in ads that he tweets out also reaches people who are nut jobs.”
— Chief political correspondent Dana Bash on CNN New Day, March 15.
Whatever a Crazy Killer Says, It’s Good Enough for Us
“We are not assigning responsibility, we’re not drawing the connection. They are. The gunman is. The terrorist is the person who brings up how much he likes what President Trump is saying. The Tree of Life synagogue shooter is the person who talked about how he likes the language of what President Trump is using with invaders. The crazed attempted terrorist who sent the attempted bombs to CNN had his van plastered with all of the pro-Trump, pro-Pence stuff. They are drawing the connection. We are reporting the connection.”
— Host Alisyn Camerota on CNN New Day, March 15.
“He [Donald Trump] also is a champion of white supremacists and if you don’t believe me, Katty Kay, ask white supremacists...You actually have the killer in New Zealand saying that Donald Trump is a champion of white nationalism and an inspiration.”
— Co-host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, March 18.
A Timeout for “Unstable” Trump’s Tweets
“If one of my children sent 50 tweets I would take the phone away. And I think that’s the way most people would view this. I think we have to call it for what it is, which is he is unstable. He’s a bad actor in the life of the republic. And that’s not reflexively partisan. It’s not ideological. At this point reason and data and experience would lead to you that conclusion.”
— MSNBC contributor and former Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, March 18.
When You’ve Gone So Far to the Left You Think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Center?
CNN political commentator Alice Stewart: “You can’t deny the fact that the Democratic Party is moving very, very far to the left. We’re talking about the Green New Deal. We’re talking about free college education. We’re talking about a lot of policies that are extremely left. The Cortez’s of Washington and the younger generation of Democrats are really causing a divide in the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi – ”
ABC chief political analyst Matthew Dowd: “The Democratic Party – if you look at all the issues and where the public stands, the Democratic Party is actually closer to the center than the Republican Party is. The Democratic Party is much closer to the center.
— ABC’s This Week, March 17.
Stop “Merchants of Doubt” That Are “Wrecking the Earth”
Co-host Katy Tur: “Thousands of young students today are walking out of class to demand action on climate change.”...
Co-host Ali Velshi: “These kids demands are not unusual. There’s nothing weird about them. It’s like, you know what? We’re wrecking the Earth, let’s stop wrecking the earth.”
Tur: “When [did] we start demonizing science? When it did become acceptable? Exxon-Mobil.”
Velshi: “I would go further back than that. I would say cigarettes...The merchants of doubt have been in petroleum, tobacco, climate yeah.”
— MSNBC Live, March 16.
“We’ve seen student walkouts for gun control, now it seems climate change is getting the same treatment. And this is expected to be a major protest, but it began with just a few teenagers on social media. They were reading about the worst-case scenarios of climate change and they came to a pretty logical conclusion: why keep going to school to prepare for a future that might not even exist?”
— Correspondent Tony Dokoupil on CBS This Morning, March 14.
Climate Change Skeptics Like Those Who Believe “Aliens Are Living Among Us”
Co-host Ali Velshi: “73 percent of Americans believe this [climate change] or acknowledge it, 27 percent don’t. That seems alarmingly high to me. But you actually brought up a point that why it’s not alarmingly high to you.”
New York magazine Deputy Editor David Wallace Wells: “Yeah there are polls that show that 26 percent of Americans believe that aliens are living among us. So I think that denial is a weird feature of American life and I wish it was – those numbers were lower. But the truth is our politics can overcome those numbers quite easily. NASA doesn’t have an issue with people who believe that aliens are here. Our climate policy shouldn’t have an issue with this 27 percent of deniers.”
— New York magazine Deputy Editor and The Uninhabitable Earth author David Wallace-Wells on MSNBC Live, March 15.
They Really Think They’re Doing a Good Job
“CNN has led the way in determining what is real news [in Trump era]....Reporting on this presidency has been the greatest of my lifetime by the greatest number of news organizations.”
— CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein introducing CNN President Jeff Zucker for a First Amendment Award at Radio Television Digital News Association dinner, March 13.
“It disgusts me when we are referred to as ‘fake news.’....We are the people who tell the truth!...Anyone who is dumb enough to confuse the occasional media mistake with media bias would be dumb enough to confuse today’s weather with the climate. We report the facts.”
— Dallas, Texas ABC affiliate WFAA sports host Dale Hansen accepting Lifetime Achievement Award at Radio Television Digital News Association dinner, March 13.
Just Jealous of Fox’s Ratings?
“I think the question should be, is Fox state-run TV or is the White House state-run government by Fox TV?....They [Fox journalists] chose to work at Fox and they don’t get to hide behind the fact that they’re excellent journalists or anchors. The fact is they work at a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”
— CNN President Jeff Zucker in March 3 Daily Beast article.
Trump Will Cause the Second Civil War?
“If impeachment starts to happen, even if he [Donald Trump] loses an election, whatever inner move you think this guy is capable of doing to create a civil war, he will, I’m not speaking hyperbole. I didn’t know Michael [Cohen] was going to say that. That was his warning as a guy who knows him better than anybody and I think we really have to pay attention to that....He said he won’t leave in a peaceful transition....Take it to that extreme.”
— MSNBC political analyst and former advertising executive Donny Deutsch on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, February 28.
Hoping for a Watergate-Style Ending?
“The last time Congress heard testimony like this, more than four decades ago, when President Nixon’s lawyer, John Dean, implicated Nixon in the crimes of Watergate. Echos of that with Cohen today.”
— Co-host George Stephanopoulos discussing Michael Cohen testimony as aired on ABC’s Good Morning America, February 27.
Cue Spit Take
“Making sure we are always accurate, especially with these attacks coming in on the press, we have to make sure to go above and beyond to ensure that everything we do is accurate and fair.”
— Former Clinton campaign operative George Stephanopoulos and ABC Good Morning America co-host being interviewed on ABC’s Washington D.C. affiliate WJLA’s Good Morning Washington, February 27.
Short Answer? No
“In Kamala Harris, a sequel to Ronald Reagan?”
— Headline to March 3 Los Angeles Times story.
Blaming Trump for Crazies
Co-host Mika Brzezinski: “I think the deafening silence on his [Donald Trump] Twitter account this morning says quite frankly just as loudly as other things he has said.”
Co-host Joe Scarborough: “He’s guilty. He knows this is his responsibility...He has said during rallies as we’ve all talked about before, ‘Go out and beat up as many people as you want to, I will pay for your lawyer bills.’...He’s always encouraged this, he’s always celebrated this. He is not shocked by this. Apparently his silence shows this is exactly what he wants.”
— Discussion about Coast Guard lieutenant that was arrested for planning attacks on journalists and Democratic politicians as aired on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, February 21.
If You Don’t Recognize Racism of Trump Supporters You Aren’t Fit to Serve
“[Dallas Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban also still thinks Trump got elected because he was an ‘outsider,’ glossing over the virulent racism and bigotry that fueled his election and continues to galvanize a large segment of the Republican base. Anyone so naïve – or willfully ignorant – not to recognize that should not be entrusted with a country whose intrinsic flaws have been allowed to fester for far too long.”
— USA Today sports columnist Nancy Armour in a March 6 column on why Mark Cuban should not run for President.
Only Reason Liberals Believed Hoax, Was Because Trumpers Are So “Despicable”
“The reason why so many people were so quick to believe Jussie Smollett and what he said and his version of events before they all unraveled was because that man [Donald Trump] who you just played feeds into and actually stokes the atmosphere of menace and insecurity that millions of Americans feel across this country, whether they are people of color, LGBTQ, trans people, immigrants, Dreamers....There are people in this country who every day feel that their very existence – their own security is at stake. And so, you know, the President’s superPAC, right-wingers, far right, conservatives who are using the Jussie Smollett situation to rhetorically bash people who are afraid for their own existence and their own lives, you know, is really despicable.”
— MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC’s AM Joy, February 23.
Something They Never Griped About on MSNBC During the Obama Years
“Fox has gotten something like 44 presidential interviews. The rest of the networks have gotten ten altogether. I think CNN’s got none. Clearly the President’s playing favorites. He’s very tight with Fox. And the former president of Fox is now his communications director. It’s a very close loop that they’ve got going....A lot of people I interviewed said it raises questions that are troubling about our democracy, when the number one rated cable news show is – appears many times to be an arm of the White House....There ought to be a line between politics and news and it seems like it’s getting crossed and blurred every day over there.”
— The New Yorker chief Washington correspondent Jane Mayer on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, March 5.
Trump’s Real Campaign Slogan
“What he [Donald Trump] ran on was what the wall is all about – 2045, guys with our color skin are going to be minorities in this country. People are terrified about that. So he ran on ‘Make America great again,’ which was really ‘Make America white again.’”
— MSNBC contributor and advertising executive Donny Deutsch on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, February 21.
Behar Bashes “Thug” Trump
“We had Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama and now we have a thug in the White House. It’s shameful, it’s shameful. That’s all I have to say.”
— Co-host Joy Behar on ABC’s The View, February 28.
Blaming Trump for New Zealand Attack
“Waiting for remarks from @realDonaldTrump on New Zealand’s radical white racist terrorist attack like waiting for Bin Laden’s next cave video. Blood on his mouth...once again. This is clear.”
— March 15 tweet by HBO’s Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright.
“So sick of the hate. So sick of the body count. And our sorry ass excuse for a leader is out there teasin’ violence. If you’re still on that man’s team you've lost something deep inside yourself. Find it.”
— March 15 tweet by comedian George Wallace.
Vote For Love and Against the Party of “Hate”
“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be in the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.”
— Film director Spike Lee accepting Academy Award, February 24.
Commie Propaganda from Awards Show Podium
“The CIA is trying to have a coup in Venezuela. I haven’t been watching since I’ve been here, so they might be doing it right now. And we should all be putting our voices out to stop the U.S. from having regime change for oil in Venezuela.”
— The Coup frontman and Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley at Independent Spirit Awards, February 23.
“Co-Conspirator” Trump Should Not Be Allowed to Pick Judges
Host James Corden: “Last year, you went to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings as a protest and you got arrested. What was that experience like?”...
Actress Piper Perabo: “I got so excited. It was terrifying. Because I never was arrested before, and you have to stand up in the Senate building while the senators are speaking and interrupt and say ‘I object.’ And I feel that this president is an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony investigation and he shouldn't be allowed to appoint justices until that matter is cleared up. You shouldn’t be allowed to pick your own judges.”
— CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden, March 13.
Trumpers “Complicit” In “Ruining the Planet”
“This motherfucker [Donald Trump] is like ruining the planet and all kinds of other crazy shit. And the people think that’s okay. It’s not fucking okay. And if you’re not saying anything, then you’re complicit.”
— Actor Samuel L. Jackson in March 12 interview with Esquire magazine.
“Moron,” “Asshole” Trump Is “Not a Good Human Being”
“Just listening to Obama talk and then listening to Trump talk and just the level of nuance that Obama is capable of, and just his worldliness and intelligence about life and his good character....it’s actually really jarring....It’s like we have a complete moron and asshole in the White House right now....He’s not a good human being. And so when you’re with someone that actually is a really good human being, it’s a very jarring juxtaposition.”
— Musician/actor John Legend on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, February 26.