Andrea Mitchell Compares Trump to Joseph Stalin

Amid her celebrating 40 years at NBC News, on Monday, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell appeared on Comedy Central’s Daily Show and compared President Trump to brutal Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, due to frequent criticism of the liberal media. Though she at least defended Trump against host Trevor Noah’s suggestion that the president was responsible for a deadly mass shooting.

Noah fretted over “the rhetoric of a Trump campaign or Trump rally” where “you see President Trump out there talking about the fake news and he points at the back of the room and the crowd boos.” He then tried to connect Trump critiques of the press to the horrific shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland in June: “And then you had an incident of violence against a newsroom, you had journalists who were gunned down. And people said, ‘Well, this is part of the environment that Trump is encouraging.’”

 

 

Turning to Mitchell, Noah wondered: “Do you feel that, in some way, Donald Trump is encouraging people to have a hateful relationship with the media?” Mitchell rejected the notion that the president was to blame for the killings in any way:

I don’t connect the president at all with what happened at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. That was a horror it was and completely, you know, I would believe someone mentally deranged who went after that organization. So I don’t think it’s fair to blame him for that.

However, she did think it was appropriate to compare Trump with an authoritarian leader who was responsible for the deaths of millions:

But I do think that he has very deliberately set up the press as the enemy of the people. I don’t feel that I am the enemy of the people. And it’s not benign, this is a – [Cheers and applause ] You know, this is something that we first heard from Joseph Stalin. This is very dangerous. It undercuts democracy.

Mitchell was far from being the first journalist to make such an outrageous comparison. Back in March, her NBC colleague Chuck Todd invoked Stalin while attacking Trump during an award acceptance speech at the annual Radio Television Digital News Association dinner. In 2017, The New York Times not only compared Trump to Stalin, but also fellow dictators Mao and Pol Pot. CNN also joined in the bashing, citing both Stalin and Hitler to condemn Trump.

Ironically, it was NBC that had kind words for Stalin during coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. While taking a tour of Moscow, correspondent Stephanie Gosk marveled at the capital city’s mass transit system: “Stalin promised the metro would be a palace for the people, and so it is. Open architecture, mosaics, even chandeliers.”

Where were Mitchell and Todd then to denounce such absurd reporting?   

Here is a transcript of the July 30 exchange between Noah and Mitchell on The Daily Show:

11:24 PM ET

(...)

TREVOR NOAH: When you look at the rhetoric of a Trump campaign or Trump rally, you see President Trump out there talking about the fake news and he points at the back of the room and the crowd boos. And you know, a lot of will people say like, “Oh, this is just, you know, a little bit of a – it’s a wrestling show, he’s just playing the heel and it’s all fun and games.” And then you had an incident of violence against a newsroom, you had journalists who were gunned down. And people said, “Well, this is part of the environment that Trump is encouraging.” Do you feel that, in some way, Donald Trump is encouraging people to have a hateful relationship with the media?

ANDREA MITCHELL: I don’t connect the president at all with what happened at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. That was a horror it was and completely, you know, I would believe someone mentally deranged who went after that organization. So I don’t think it’s fair to blame him for that.

But I do think that he has very deliberately set up the press as the enemy of the people. I don’t feel that I am the enemy of the people. And it’s not benign, this is a – [Cheers and applause ] You know, this is something that we first heard from Joseph Stalin. This is very dangerous. It undercuts democracy.

And for years and years, I’ve covered the State Department, where we try to teach and help advocate with new democracies how to train journalists and how we do journalism. Secretaries of state travel all over the world and deliberately – until more recently – deliberately go to Beijing, go to Turkey, go to Moscow, have press conferences, even if the host country will not, to show dictators that this is what the First Amendment means. It’s very, very important. It is our value system.

And I do think that, by talking about “fake news” – fake news is what Russia did to our election, the propaganda that we see from Russia, you know, invading our social media, to say nothing of have the hacking. But that’s fake news. Propaganda is fake news, not what my colleagues at the White House and covering other beats in Washington do every day, sometimes around the world at great peril to their lives. [Cheers and applause]

(...)

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