CNN’s Stelter Wonders If Trump’s Rhetoric Allowed Murder of WaPo Writer

The liberal media have been itching to pin a death of a journalist on President Trump given his tough words and criticism for the American political press. And with the apparent murder, and reported dismemberment, of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi Arabia, there were a few members of the liberal media looking to exploit it. One such person was CNN media reporter Brian Stelter.

In the midst of interviewing Washington Post editorial editor Fred Hiatt about Khashoggi and his disappearance, Stelter wanted to know if Hiatt felt that Trump had something to do with the murder. “I wonder if you look at what’s happened in the last 12 days, and you wonder if ‘enemy of the people’ rhetoric,” he asked noting that such rhetoric also came from the world’s dictators.

But Hiatt didn’t take Stelter’s bait. The Washington Post editor told his host that when looking at an “actual crime” it was important “to keep focused on the actual criminal.” “And you know, The Washington Post, we’re very focused saying, ‘we have to get the facts and then there has to be accountability and there has to be consequences,’” he added.

Hiatt did say there were dictators around the globe who felt emboldened:

I think that there is a larger picture, which is also fair to look at. Which is that dictators around the world feel emboldened. When you have Putin reaching out to Britain to poison his enemies. When you have China reaching out to Hong Kong and elsewhere to kidnap people they perceive to be their enemies. And when in each case these supposed enemies are peaceful, you know, people who have done absolutely nothing wrong, you have to ask, “why is this happening?”

 

 

The Washington Post editor chalked it up to “in part because the United States is retreating from its traditional role as a leader in the world, standing up for the democratic values and including freedom of expression.” But he reiterated Khashoggi's apparent murder was "a single crime" that was committed by "criminals who are responsible, and let's focus on finding them and holding them accountable."

A few minutes later, when he was talking to Shadi Hamid, contributing editor of The Atlantic, Stelter shared his skepticism of President Trump ever taking action against Saudi Arabia in some way. “Do you think I’m too cynical, that I’m looking at Trump saying ‘we need to find out what happened, we don’t know yet, we don't know yet.’”

“Is he just kicking the can down the road? Trying to, you know, waiting for people to move on to the next story. Is that too cynical,” Stelter continued.

Hamid was in total agreement with Stelter and went so far as to suggest Trump and Saudi Arabia were on the same page as well. “I actually think that’s the more likely possibility. And I think the Saudis are hoping that people will start to move on and that Trump is not – Trump is going to be consumed with other things,” he claimed.

He also asserted that “Trump has emboldened and empowered autocrats” and almost mocked how “they don't take Trump seriously when it comes to anything having to do with human rights.” According to Hamid, the only reason Trump would get involved would be because he felt “taunted” or “disrespected” by the crown prince for “putting him in this very compromising situation”.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN
Reliable Sources
October 14, 2018
11:33:29 a.m. Eastern

(…)

BRIAN STELTER: To lure somebody to a consulate to dismember the body and to take it back to Saudi. It is a crime of a different caliber. I wonder if you look at what’s happened in the last 12 days, and you wonder if “enemy of the people” rhetoric, not just from President Trump, but also then from other world leaders has anything to do with this, anything at all?

FRED HIATT: You know, I think, in a case like this, it is important to -- on the actual crime to keep focused on the actual criminal. And you know, The Washington Post, we’re very focused saying, “we have to get the facts and then there has to be accountability and there has to be consequences.”

I think that there is a larger picture, which is also fair to look at. Which is that dictators around the world feel emboldened. When you have Putin reaching out to Britain to poison his enemies. When you have China reaching out to Hong Kong and elsewhere to kidnap people they perceive to be their enemies. And when in each case these supposed enemies are peaceful, you know, people who have done absolutely nothing wrong, you have to ask, “why is this happening?”

And I do think that it is happening in part because the United States is retreating from its traditional role as a leader in the world, standing up for the democratic values and including freedom of expression. So that is all true, and Brian, you are right it is part of the big picture, but I also think it is also crucial to say, “where is Jamal?” That is a single crime. It has criminals who are responsible, and let's focus on finding them and holding them accountable.

(…)

11:37:26 a.m. Eastern

STELTER: Do you think I’m too cynical, that I’m looking at Trump saying “we need to find out what happened, we don’t know yet, we don't know yet.” Is he just kicking the can down the road? Trying to, you know, waiting for people to move on to the next story. Is that too cynical?

SHADI HAMID: No, I actually think that’s the more likely possibility. And I think the Saudis are hoping that people will start to move on and that Trump is not – Trump is going to be consumed with other things. And also, you know, I think that Fred made a good point earlier that Trump has emboldened and empowered autocrats, and they don't take Trump seriously when it comes to anything having to do with human rights.

What I think is different about this case is that they’re almost in a sense – the Saudis in a sense taunting Trump. Because Trump has given them a lot of deference, he’s been supportive of them. So, for the Saudis to respond to kind of respond in this way, and almost like disrespecting Trump by putting him in this very compromising situation that he – Trump made a big bet on this young crown prince, and now – and now he seems to be reckless and brazen in his activities, the crown prince throughout the region.

(…)

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