Mollie Hemingway: Last Week Was ‘Turning Point’ for ‘Worst of Media'

After two mass shootings took place within hours of each other last week, the Sunday panelists on the Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz discussed the concept that people in the media accused President Trump of being responsible for the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Our friend Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist went so far as to state that people in the media blamed Trump and his supporters for the deaths, which is “completely beyond journalists’ responsibility and a real turning point for the worst in American discourse.”

 

 

Host Howard Kurtz started the discussion by noting:

Mollie, there is no longer any pretense of a debate. Journalists, commentators say....President Trump is a racist, President Trump is a white supremacist. {And}maybe leap into charging that he is condoning, inciting, that he’s directly responsible for mass violence.

Hemingway agreed: “It was really horrible, what we saw this week. We had two horrible mass shootings, and we had people in the media kind of absolve both of the shooters of their crimes in order to blame President Trump and his voters for mass murder.”

“This is completely beyond journalistic responsibility,” she added, “and a real turning point for the worst in American discourse.”

Making note to point out how many primetime FNC hosts support Trump, Kurtz then asked if the media are at “a point where the President can do nothing right, and many journalists [have] basically become part of the Resistance?”

Hemingway pointed to the significant differences between the shooters, noting that one of them “had these anti-immigrant viewpoints, and there was a shooter who was very supportive of Antifa and Elizabeth Warren and what not it's not like he was saying out of thin air.”

The host added that “often people who do crazy things are fans or followers of politicians.”

Kurtz then turned to a front-page report in the New York Times stating: “Trump uses day of healing to deepen the nation’s division” and “A day intended to show compassion devolved into anger-fueled broadsides at Democrats and the media.”

“As if all the partisanship in this matter comes only from Donald Trump,” he continued.

Hemingway responded by calling the situation “an amazing game that’s being played” and stated:

So you have days of blaming Donald Trump for mass murder and his supporters for mass murder and then, when he responds to any of these things, well then, he's acting unpresidential.

{A]nd it is not okay to not hold people accountable for being on one side going against Trump but then hold Trump accountable for responding to it.

Kurtz then turned his attention to “coverage of the President's remarks this week,” including a tweet in which he told 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke to “be quiet” after the Texan tried to revive his fading candidacy by accusing Trump of being a racist.

“So why do we see such a focus on the President's remarks and not those critics when it comes to question to the tone of the discourse?” Kurtz later asked.

Hemingway asserted: “I think there’s another reason why the media don’t hold other people accountable, and that’s because they’ve been such willful participants in this claim that Donald Trump and his supporters are racists.”

Below is a transcript of the segment from the August 11 edition of MediaBuzz:

FNC’s MediaBuzz
August 11, 2019
11:03 a.m. Eastern

HOWARD KURTZ: Molly, there is no longer any pretense of a debate. Journalists, commentators say as we just heard, President Trump is a racist, President Trump is a white supremacist and maybe leap into charging that he is condoning, inciting, that he’s directly responsible for mass violence.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Yeah. It was really horrible what we saw this week. We had two horrible mass shootings and we had people in the media kind of absolve both of the shooters of their crimes in order to blame President Trump and his voters for mass murder. This is completely beyond journalistic responsibility and a real turning point for the worst in American discourse.

KURTZ: Gillian, journalists who is do this and, yes, a lot of opinion people on Fox only support President Trump, but they kind of view themselves as fearless truth tellers. They’re going to call out the President, is a point where the president can do nothing right and many journalists are basically become part of the Resistance?

GILLIAN TURNER: Where President Trump usually runs afoul of the mainstream media, gets on the wrong side when it comes to race and the issues of race in America, when he uppers white nationalism and Antifa in the same sentence. To me, that was politically for him the lesson out of Charlottesville. There were much more important lessons out of Charlottesville. It was a horrible, tragic event, but if I was political adviser to the president at the time, I would have said if you want to avoid that backlash from the media, keep those two things separate and I think he kind of fell this same trap again. I went back and looked at the transcript from remarks just before heading out of the White House to go to El Paso, and he said: “any group of hate whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any kind of supremacy, whether it’s Antifa, whether it’s any group of hate I'm very concerned about it. He started the trip, you know, off on the wrong foot with the media.

HEMINGWAY: There was a shooter who had these anti-immigrant viewpoints and there was a shooter who was very supportive of Antifa and Elizabeth Warren and what not it's not like he was saying out of thin air.

TURNER: Again, it's not necessarily reality aside. I’m talking about the political optics the media

KURTZ: I've said many times, Richard, and I will say again now that the President’s sometimes divisive rhetoric is absolutely fair game for criticism and is part of this story. But isn't it a giant leap and an unfair leap to say he almost wants to happen and theSE mass shootings are his fault.

RICHARD FOWLER: Now, I wouldn’t say that the President wants these mass shootings to happen, but I can say there's a direct correlation between his commentary and how things — and how this sort of played out here and I think — you can even look at —

KURTZ: Direct correlation?

FOWLER: There's a correlation and let me explain why, right? So what you you saw El Paso, two weeks ago, you saw the president go after four women of color in the United States house of representatives. We saw him go after the city of Baltimore, over and over again, we see this rhetoric that's power charged, that if you are somebody who is radicalized and become white supremacy on the internet, you can just go look to the President's tweets you see the same language that you see white supremacists use.

KURTZ: Well, often people who do crazy things are fans or followers of politicians. But let me go to the President's trip to El Paso and Dayton because the press really trashed it and, Mollie, New York Times headline story was -- it was the lead story -- “Trump uses day of healing to deepen the nation’s division.” “A day intended to show compassion devolved into anger-fueled broadsides at Democrats and the media.” As if all the partisanship in this matter comes only from the Donald Trump.

HEMINGWAY: It’s an amazing game that’s being played. So you have days of blaming Donald Trump for mass murder and supporters for mass murder and then when he responds to any of these things, well then, he's acting unpresidential and it is not okay to not hold people accountable for being on one side going against Trump but then hold Trump accountable for responding to it.

FOWLER: Here is a difference though with this and let me make this point, we saw some of the same rhetoric during George W. Bush’s handling of Katrina, but here’s what George Bush did that Donald Trump did not do and he should have done is he says I will not pay attention to any critics, I’m going to focus on the American people that elected me and I’m going to spend every day even though Katrina was debacle, he spent every day of his administration until the last day ensuring that people of new Orleans got what they needed and that’s where Donald Trump has failed.

KURTZ: Let me come back to coverage of the president's remarks this is week. So, he did tweet against Beto O’Rourke, “Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage)” should “be quiet.” But Beto O’Rourke has been out there in front of cameras, you know, trying to revive campaign calling Donald Trump a white supremacist and saying that he’s promoting this sort of thing. He also went after Joe Biden, Joe Biden gave [a] speech this week in which he said the President is fanning the flames of white supremacy. So Trump hits back at “Sleepy Joe,” and he's “boring” and so forth. So why do we see such a focus on the President's remarks and not those critics when it comes to question to the tone of the discourse?

TURNER: Well, there is in unarguably greater burden and responsibility that falls on the leader of the free world. Beto O’Rourke, you may think he's great or you may not know about him or not care about him, he’s a one-term congressman. We’re talking about the President of the United States.

KURTZ: He’s former three-term congressman.

TURNER: Three-term Congressman, excuse me.

KURTZ: So you’re saying the President should hold himself to [a] higher standard, but the media seem to hold him to a higher standard as well?

TURNER: Yeah, the media -- yes, the media holds the president with good reason to a higher standard but the point -- I've worked with the planning staff in the Bush and Obama administrations for presidential trips in the aftermath of these nationl tragedies. It’s very formulaic. There's very clear rules of the road, you know, you visit hospitals, you visit first responders, you talk to the victims and their families --

HEMINGWAY: I think theres’s --

TURNER: -- I think there were a lot of unforced errors on this trip.

HEMINGWAY: -- I think there’s another reason why the media don’t hold other people accountable and that’s because they’ve been such willful participants in this claim that Donald Trump and his supporters are racists.

Liberals & Democrats Fox News Channel MediaBuzz Howard Kurtz Mollie Hemingway Donald Trump Beto O'Rourke Joe Biden

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