All this week, NewsBusters is recounting the most obnoxious liberal bias of 2016. Yesterday, we presented the most outrageous examples of journalists fawning over liberal or left-wing icons; today’s installment showcases some of this year’s most rancid quotes attacking Republicans or conservatives.
Most of the media’s ire this year was aimed at GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump — who, according to some in the media, is either an American version of Hitler, “clinically insane,” or a “raving meth head” — but conservative Senator Ted Cruz and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were also targeted.
If You’re Not a Liberal, You’re a Nazi
“Ted Cruz has a strong ground game in Iowa.”
— January 6 Tweet by Newsweek’s Alexander Nazarayan, accompanied by an old photo of marching Nazis holding swastika flags.
“Let me be clear here, I believe that what we’re seeing with Trump has whiffs of how Hitler rose to power, because of the popularizing of all of these things.”
— Founder of The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill, on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, May 13.
Donald Trump = Saddam Hussein, Stalin, bin Laden and Hitler
“These are not words of sanity! These are the rages and the boasts and the madness that we have seen throughout history: Saddam Hussein, Mussolini, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Dung, Stalin, Pol Pot, bin Laden, Hitler.”
— Ex-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann talking about Donald Trump in a video message for The Resistance on GQ.com, November 29.
“I’m worried. When he [Trump] institutes internment camps and suspends habeas, we’ll all look back and feel pretty bad.”
— CNN commentator and Daily Beast contributor Sally Kohn during CNN’s live coverage of the March 5 primaries.
Justifying Violence As Long As It’s Against Trump
“In the face of media, politicians, and GOP primary voters normalizing Trump as a presidential candidate — whatever your personal beliefs regarding violent resistance — there’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.”
— Huffington Post writer Jesse Benn in a June 6 article with the headline, “Sorry Liberals, a Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any.”
Media Freak Out Over Election Results
“This is a moral 9/11. Only 9/11 was done to us from the outside and we did this to ourselves.”
— New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, November 11.
“It’s hard to be a parent, tonight, for a lot of us. You tell your kids, don’t be a bully. You tell your kids, don’t be a bigot....And then, you have this outcome....how do I explain this to my children?...This was a ‘white-lash.’ This was a ‘white-lash’ against a changing country. It was a ‘white-lash’ against a black president.”
— CNN’s political analyst Van Jones during live election night coverage 12:44 am ET, November 9.
Hateful Trump Like a “Meth Head on Cops”
“Trump has achieved the brink of the Republican nomination, according to the candidate himself, by being himself, no matter how politically incorrect, except that his supposedly courageous candor is contaminated with the most cowardly hate speech — racism, xenophobia, misogyny, incitement, breathtaking ignorance on issues, both foreign and domestic, and a nuclear recklessness, reminiscent of a raving meth head with a machete on an episode of Cops.”
— NPR’s Bob Garfield on WNYC’s On The Media radio show, May 13.
Nasty Trump No Different than Other GOP Presidents
“Republicans have fed the country ideas about decline, betrayal, and treason. They have encouraged the forces of anti-intellectualism, obstructionism, and populism. They have flirted with bigotry and racism. Trump merely chose to unashamedly embrace all of it — saying plainly what they were hinting at for years. In doing so, he hit the jackpot.”
— Host Fareed Zakaria on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, March 6.
“The GOP establishment may be in a state of meltdown, but this process of exploiting the darkest American undercurrents began with Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy and, more lately, has included the birther movement and the Obama Derangement Syndrome....The Republican Party, having spent years courting the basest impulses in American political culture, now sees the writing on the wall. It reads ‘Donald Trump,’ in very big letters.”
— Editor David Remnick writing in the March 14 issue of The New Yorker.
Ted Cruz = Menacing Troll
“There’s a troll-like quality to Cruz. He operates below the level of human life....What is he, a theocrat? Maybe he is....There’s something about that guy — who’s always reminded me of Joe McCarthy — and there’s something about him that is negative and menacing.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Morning Joe, February 10.
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Remember, Liberals Are Supposed to Be the Compassionate Ones
“Died in a ranch in Texas. God bless America.”
“Wish I could be a fly on the wall for Scalia’s chat with the Devil.”
— Pair of tweets from The New Yorker’s managing editor Silvia Killingsworth, posted within minutes of the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on February 13.
“I don’t care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death.”
— GQ basketball writer Nathaniel Friedman (AKA Bethlehem Shoals) in a July 18 tweet. Friedman later apologized.
The Media’s Fond Farewell to Justice Antonin Scalia
“Sometimes it seemed he worked overtime to earn your hate. He gloried in it. He wrote cruel, demeaning things about whole groups of Americans — and even if you didn’t belong to one of those groups, Scalia was the fifth vote on what many of us consider towering historic injustices, from Bush v. Gore to Citizens United.... As reprehensible as so many of his views were, we will be wrestling with him for decades to come.”
— Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick in an article posted February 14, one day after Scalia’s death.
Electing Trump Would Destroy America
“This campaign is now about a neo-fascist — I keep coming back to that — sociopath....He is setting himself up as the head of....a real neo-fascist movement....Is there going to be remnants of a neo-fascist movement that he leads in this country after this election? It’s a dangerous thing. We’re in a dangerous place.”
— Former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein on CNN’s New Day, October 21.
“I’m telling you, Donald Trump amplifies the worst instincts and his nationalism is really a white racist supremacist nationalism that wreaks terror on the American democratic experiment.”
— Author/MSNBC analyst Michael Eric Dyson on ABC’s This Week, June 26.
“What’s the worst-case scenario for America if he [Donald Trump] wins? It can be pretty bad. You don’t have to go back far in history to get to almost apocalyptic scenarios....Over the past year I’ve been reading a lot about what it was like when Hitler first became chancellor. I am gravitating toward moments in history for subliminal reference in terms of cultures that have unexpectedly veered into dark places, because I think that’s possibly where we are.”
— MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in a July 12 interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
Trump’s Awfulness Justifies Our Bias
“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?...It is journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment. To do anything less would be untenable.”
— Jim Rutenberg in an August 8 New York Times front-page story, “The Challenge Trump Poses to Objectivity.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are — a journalist, a politician or a voter — we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.”
— Univision and Fusion news anchor Jorge Ramos in an August 23 article posted at Time.com.
“In an ordinary presidential campaign, press neutrality is essential. But in Trump we have somebody who has threatened democracy by talking about banning an entire religion from entering the country; forcing Muslims in America to register with authorities; rewriting press laws and prosecuting his critics and political opponents; blacklisting news organizations he doesn’t like; ordering the military to do illegal things such as torture and targeting innocents; and much more. In this case, attempting neutrality legitimized the illegitimate.”
— Washington Post’s Dana Milbank in an October 25 column.
Journalists Should Treat Trump as “Rancid Meat”
Slate editor Jacob Weisberg: “You know, the structure of covering politics is you compare an apple and an orange, and they have different attributes, but they’re both fruits and you can take your pick. In this case we have something more like an apple and some rancid meat. Excuse the expression.”
Host Brian Stelter: “I’m sorry, is Donald Trump the rancid meat?”
Weisberg: “He’s the rancid meat, and in all sorts of ways. I mean, it’s conspiracy thinking, and racism.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Reliable Sources, September 4.
Diagnosing Trump as “Clinically Insane”
CBS Sunday Morning contributor Nancy Giles: “I am now seeing Hillary Clinton, in her own way, kind of lay out her case against his temperament. I love the fact that she is using his own language against him. I think that’s probably the most effective way. Because he’s, I think, clinically insane....I mean, I really do!”
Host Lawrence O’Donnell: “You’re not alone. There’s a lot of clinicians who have been speculating about that.”
— MSNBC’s The Last Word, June 8.
Trump Proves Darwin Was Wrong
“To paraphrase Henry Adams, the movement from George H. W. Bush to Donald Trump disproves Darwin.”
— Former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham on CBS’s Face the Nation, October 16.
Donald Trump = the “Scum of the Earth”
“I would sooner and happily vote for a third term of George W. Bush, rather than five minutes of President Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the scum of the Earth. And the only way I would not believe that Donald Trump is not the scum of the Earth, is if Donald Trump himself told me he was the scum of the Earth because then I would know he is lying about it, and somebody else was scum of the Earth. We have had enough!”
— Host Keith Olbermann on GQ.com’s The Closer with Keith Olbermann, October 6.