In the aftermath of violence in Charlottesville, all figurative guns turned on President Donald Trump when he made remarks about the violence shortly after it happened. So much is missing from reportage, it’s hard to know where to start.
For one thing, media have misled the public on Trump’s remarks.
For another, a leftist group and a newspaper catering to a leftist readership have published information that put Trump’s remarks in context.
In the immediate aftermath of the violence, the public still had little information. Rumors abounded on social media. The president’s first statement included this:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
I thought it was appropriate. As I said, I couldn’t tell who was beating up whom. We still had few facts.
After a media explosion, Trump made another statement, expanding on the first and also expressing sorrow related to breaking news about the young woman’s death and the deaths of two law enforcement officers in a helicopter crash:
“We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must discover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
If you read both statements by Trump in full, it becomes obvious many in media on both right and left have been complicit in misinforming you.
Since then, there’s been an ongoing battle between Democrats, never-Trump Republicans, and Trump supporters over what he said, what should have been said, what he didn’t say and like that.
What is missing from all the coverage and punditry?
We still don’t know exactly which groups, regardless of political philosophy, were there.
The Chicago Tribune did something I haven’t seen a newspaper do in a long time. The paper talked to different people who were there. If you read the roundup of remarks, it will become clear that Trump’s first remarks were accurate, not that anyone cares about accuracy much anymore. A nod to Brit Hume for tweeting a link to that article—I wasn’t aware of it until I saw his post. The paper isn’t a Trump supporter, having endorsed Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate for president.
I saw remarks about one group calling itself Workers World. The anti-capitalist group participated in the action at Charlottesville, and then ran a story featuring the header “Cops and Klan, Hand in Hand.” In that story, the writer said:
“In the end, the white supremacist turnout was only several hundred, while thousands of multinational resisters came to confront organized terror.”
This same group for N. Korea despot Kim Jong-Un. And this statement indicates antipathy to the US First Amendment:
“In the U.S. big business media, these racist forces are put forward as tolerated because of “First Amendment” guarantees of “free speech.” Workers and oppressed people are told that protecting the rights of such groups ultimately means the basic protection of everyone’s rights.”
I’ve often said the First Amendment is the linchpin to all our rights and to limits on government power. That statement alone, suggesting speech be relegated only in approved quarters, should send anyone who values liberty running away from a group like this.
What did I see on the TV screen? Hatred and violence on all sides. I may not have been surprised, but some members of the media were.
ABC’s Jake Tapper recounted physical attacks on two different reporters. When he noted the attacks were conducted by leftists, he was verbally attacked on social media. You can read a sample of the comments here on Twitter.
Trump isn’t the only president to be criticized for comments after a tragedy. President Barack Obama was also criticized, although not in the depth Trump has been. Obama was a far more scripted speaker than Trump is. But I remember the criticism that followed the second shootings at Ft. Hood and the renewed criticism when the Obama administration chose to define an act of obvious terrorism killing 13 people and injuring many others as “workplace violence.”
No Democrats in Congress censured Obama for that.
As I write this, pundits with bully pulpits and ‘activists’ on Twitter are calling Republicans “Nazis” and other ridiculous names. If you look at the Workers World page* describing the organization’s mission, it appears this group is intent on overturning the US government “for a socialist society—where the wealth is socially owned and production is planned to satisfy human need.” The group also endorses “militant resistance.”
Perhaps Democrats and Republican critics of Trump can weigh in on that while explaining that if WWP is correct about those numbers, the KKKers and the Nazis were in the minority. I’m still waiting to find out what other leftist groups showed up and which rightwing groups showed up. No media appeared to have asked.
Who knew the “resisters” vastly outnumbered the other groups? Media refer to all those “resisters” as Antifa. That simply isn’t the case. As for media, the leftists inflicted the violence on members of the media, according to Tapper and the reporters who were attacked.
Ed. Note: *The current page was down when I checked. I retrieved the page from the Internet Archive. The site is now down. Perhaps they’re doing some timely housecleaning.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 17, 2017)