CNN Imagined Anti-Semitism in Trump Ad, Ignores Keith Ellison's Anti-Semitic Statements

November 17th, 2016 7:33 PM

The weekend before Election Day, Jake Tapper at CNN, interviewing Democratic Minnesota Senator Al Franken, used the classic "some people say" tactic to allege that there were anti-Semitic undertones in the Donald Trump campaign's closing ad. Why? Because three of the many people briefly pictured in the ad, in which the candidate criticized the political establishment's attitudes and actions which he believes have hurt everyday Americans, happen to be Jewish.

So you might expect that Tapper, CNN, and for that matter the rest of the establishment press would be extensively investigating and reporting on the years of anti-Semitic activities and remarks of Democrat Keith Ellison, especially now that the Minnesota congressman is in the running to be the next director of the Democratic National Committee. Nope.

As seen in a November 6 NewsBusters post, Franken claimed that the anti-Semitic undercurrent running in Trump's ad was a "German shepherd whistle" (a big "dog whistle," get it?). CNN didn't show any footage from the actual ad, misleading viewers into believing that the ad identified them by name and presented them in a group picture. In truth, each was actually shown separately and not named — as were many others who aren't Jewish — for about a second or so.

By contrast, Ellison's history of anti-Semitism is right out there for everyone in the media to see and report. But it appears that they lack either the interest or the will. Why?

The best collection of Ellison's egregiousness is at Powerline, the Minnesota-based center-right blog which has been with us for over 14 years and which was, among many other things, instrumental in discrediting Dan Rather's 2004 60 Minutes hit piece on George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard service.

Five years ago, Powerline's Scott Johnson posted "Keith Ellison for Dummies." It's only a partial compilation of Ellison's problematic associations and remarks, particularly relating to the virulently anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. Here are a few excerpts from Johnson's timeline:

... 1989-Ellison publishes the first of two articles in the University of Minnesota Daily under the alias “Keith Hakim.” In the first such article, Ellison speaks up for the Nation of Islam. (This is important, because Ellison later claimed, as seen later, that his NOI association was only for about 18 months during the time before and after Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. — Ed.)

... 1995–Ellison supports Million Man March, appears at organizing rally with former Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Muhammed at University of Minnesota. (The late Khalid Muhammad said, at the 1:05 mark at the link, that "I believe with all of my heart that the white man is the devil, and I must teach that he is the devil." — Ed.)

... 1997–Ellison appears under alias “Keith Ellison-Muhammad” at Minnesota Initiative Against Racism hearing in support of Joanne Jackson. Ellison defends “the truth” of Jackson’s statement that “Jews are the most racist white people.”

... 1998–Ellison first runs for DFL endorsement for state representative. Ellison identifies himself as member of Nation of Islam in Insight News article on his candidacy.

... May 2006–Ellison writes letter to JCRC (the Jewish Community Relations Council) asserting involvement with Nation of Islam limited to 18 months supporting Million Man March.

Ellison's NOI involvement spanned nearly a decade at the very least, and during that time, despite later claiming ignorance of it, he fully supported its anti-Semitism. Ellis also demanded the release of 1970s terrorist Kathleen Soliah/Sara Jane Olson.

The icing on the cake is that Ellison has compared the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to the German Nazi-era Reichstag fire. Specifically, in a 2007 speech, this dialog went down:

ELLISON: Because remember 9/11, right? You never had all this discrimination against religious minorities, but for 9/11. You had it but you didn't have it to the degree that you have it now.

9/11 is this juggernaut event in American history, and it allows — it's almost like, you know, the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. Does anybody know what I'm talking about?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The Jews benefited from 9/11.

ELLISON: Well, I mean, you and I both know.


ELLISON: But the thing is, after the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and put the leader of that country (Hitler) in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.

As the Washington Free Beacon noted, "Ellison effectively compared Bush to Hitler with the analogy, drawing comparisons between presidential authorities he was granted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and Hitler’s ruthless crackdown and consolidation of power in the fire’s aftermath." He also didn't stop the audience member who said "The Jews benefited from 9/11." Instead, he agreed with him.

The Washington Post claims that "Ellison apologized for and/or backed off a number of controversial statements and politically dicey moves, from likening George W. Bush's consolidation of power post-9/11 to the rise of Adolf Hitler, to defending the leader of the National of Islam, to labeling his 2012 reelection opponent a 'lowlife scumbag.'"

Why does he deserve such indulgence? The answer is that he doesn't, especially because he's still backing and filling. On Tuesday, Powerline's Johnson wrote that "I just heard a radio news report indicating that Ellison denies he was ever a member of the Nation of Islam. This is a bald-faced lie for which I have the ocular proof."

As to media coverage, a Google News search at about 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday on "Ellison DNC" (not in quotes, past week, without duplicates), returned almost 300 results in the past five days. Adding the word "Islam" reduced that number to 61 going back a full week, with almost all of the results coming from center-right blogs and outlets. A similar exercise at the Associated Press returned seven results, which dropped to none after adding "Islam" to the search string. The same effort at the New York Times yielded ten and zero results, respectively.

And of course, there's no mention of Ellison's problematic anti-Semitic past in CNN's online post about Ellison's DNC chairmanship run. But is all over Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon's alleged anti-Semitism, concerning which no one can seem to find any public directly stated evidence.

Cross-posted at