In a rare moment of truth-telling on CNN Sunday, New York Times Opinion staff writer and editor Bari Weiss openly admitted to the Reliable Sources panel that the media was purposely ignoring the blatant anti-Semitism espoused by Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (MN) and Rashida Tlaib (MI) because of President Trump.
Weiss argued that “one of the problems of this moment” was how “everything [Trump] touches becomes toxic”. So, “it's very hard to cover, sort of, complicated characters and stories like them because [of] the President…”
Her example for how the media abdicated their duty to report on topics they deemed “toxic” focused on the lack of coverage regarding the Congresswomen’s agenda on their trip to Israel.
She noted that Trump putting pressure on Israel to bar Omar and Tlaib was a “huge story” but it paled in comparison to the “scandal” that should have been the real story.
First, Weiss pointed out that the anti-Semites declared they were going to Palestine instead of Israel on their itineraries. She then dropped the bombshell that the trip “was being sponsored by a group that literally published neo-Nazi blood libels and said that it supported female suicide bombers. You know, hailing them as heroes. That's a scandal.”
It was a scandal “that has not been covered by any mainstream paper or network …” she lamented. “If someone like [Iowa Republican Congressman] Steve King was going to Sweden or Norway and eating with neo-Nazi groups, that would be front-page news,” she added.
She then posed a question to the panel: “is the fact that Trump has lodged racist, horrible attacks on these women, has that made them sort of untouchable for us to cover in an accurate way?” She never got a real answer from anyone on the panel. Instead, fill-in host John Avlon quickly moved away from those facts and back to bashing Trump. Moments later, the segment was over.
Interestingly, Weiss was promoting an upcoming book she wrote: How to Fight Anti-Semitism.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Reliable Sources
August 18, 2019
8:52:21 a.m. Eastern
JOHN AVLON: So Bari, I mean, how do you walk that line, and what's the line in particular of not normalizing lies through repetition? Because they do provide a degree of amplification, but he's President of the United States.
BARI WEISS: Right. I think a huge part of it, as you said before, is not letting Trump be the assignment editor. Right?
One of the huge stories this week was the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu decided to bar the entry of two Democratic members of Congress, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel. Based on Trump bullying him into that decision, he reversed course. Now, that’s a huge story, one that I wrote a column about.
But another huge story, one that has not been covered by any mainstream paper or network is the fact that their trip to Israel, or as they're calling Palestine, was being sponsored by a group that literally published neo-Nazi blood libels and said that it supported female suicide bombers. You know, hailing them as heroes. That's a scandal.
If someone like Steve King was going to Sweden or Norway and eating with neo-Nazi groups, that would be front page news. One of the questions I think we need to ask is: is the fact that Trump has lodged racist horrible attacks on these women, has that made them sort of untouchable for us to cover in an accurate way?
I think that’s one of the problems of this moment. That it's very hard to cover, sort of, complicated characters and stories like them because the President, everything he touches becomes toxic.
AVLON: And yet, that's our job.