USA Today’s Christine Brennan: Enemy Of A United America

I wanted to read about why Olympians had decided to skip the White House visit, and didn’t get past the second paragraph before at least part of the reason became clear: It’s because the media, like USA Today’s Christine Brennan who authored the piece, operate as enemies of a united American people.

At least, that is, as long as Donald J. Trump is the President.

The media — just like you, President Trump, and everyone else in our nation — are entitled to their own opinions. But a major problem erupts when they pass those opinions off as “fact.” It’s in that moment when what should have been news becomes fake news. It’s not facts that are being reported. It’s partisan characterizations of events framed to support a predetermined narrative. And virtually every time in the mainstream media, that narrative is one that makes “The Resistance” stand up and cheer while those who support our President are left shaking their heads.

Here is what Christine Brennan wrote, and what USA Today editors and oversight principals uncritically published…

Some, like Vonn, Rippon and Kenworthy in particular, have made it clear they are skipping the U.S. Olympic Committee’s White House visit because they do not want to stand with the controversial Trump, who, among other things, bragged about sexually assaulting women in a video released during the 2016 presidential campaign, mocked a disabled person during the campaign and called some white supremacists “very fine people” after the deadly Charlottesville rally.

Presented as fact: Donald Trump 1) “bragged about sexually assaulting women,” 2) “mocked a disabled person” and 3) “called some white supremacists ‘very fine people.'”

Is it any wonder that our nation is so divided — that those honored with representing the United States like Vonn, Rippon and Kenworthy feel empowered to disrespect the office of the Presidency — that so many Americans see the media as an enemy of the people and as “fake news” — when divisive and destructive lies are told so casually and passed off as legitimate journalism?

Let’s take USA Today’s dishonest, destructive, false convictions one at a time…

BRAGGED ABOUT SEXUALLY ASSAULTING WOMEN

President Trump did not brag about sexually assaulting women. It’s a popular refrain in the anti-Trump media, but it just never happened. In the tape that Brennan is referencing Trump used the word “let.” He said that “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” While the media loves making the strawman argument that Words Matter!, they persistently ignore words that distract from their agenda. In this case, virtually every time, they ignore the word “let.” The word “let” confers consent. Had Trump said, “when you’re a star you can do anything even if they tell you not to and I proudly do that all the time,” then one could report honestly that he bragged about sexually assaulting women. But he didn’t say anything close to that. He said he tries to kiss women, which is called making the first move and is not sexual assault unless you persist when told to stop. But more importantly he said when you’re famous, they let you do things presumably based on starpower. You may not like the private conversation that he and Billy Bush had back in 2005, but when you falsely accuse him of bragging about sexual assault — you dilute the gravity of real sexual assault, and the plight of real victims. And that’s exactly what Christine Brennan and almost everyone else in the badly discredited mainstream media do every time they lie about — mischaracterize for their own partisan agenda — what was said on that tape.

MOCKED A DISABLED PERSON

It’s dubious at best to claim as fact that then-candidate Trump mocked a disabled reporter. (In her piece Brennan chose the word “person” probably because she knew that the word “reporter,” to many readers, carries a lot less weight when it comes to mustering our empathy. Gee I wonder why that might be, Christine.) He did mock the individual, but there’s no evidence that he mocked his disability as the media likes to dishonestly report as fact. In reality, there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary.

WATCH:

The gestures President Trump used when mocking the reporter were gestures that he’d used throughout his life when mocking other people who are not disabled. So to claim, as Brennan and so many others do, that he was mocking the disability as opposed to the person, is pure fiction. And it’s fiction that serves only to create disunity and negative feelings all across our nation.

Now if you want to see what it looks and sounds like when a President of the United States actually mocks disabled people, you’ll have to rewind the tape back to Barack Obama’s Presidency.

WATCH:

So for those keeping score at home: USA Today’s Christine Brennan dishonestly presented as fact, despite evidence to the contrary, that President Trump mocked a disabled reporter. She did so in an article about Olympic athletes snubbing President Trump. Among those who would not be snubbing President Trump were several disabled athletes who themselves were indisputably and indefensibly mocked for their disabilities by President Obama; a man who Brennan and the rest of the mainstream media uniformly praise. It’s not just unfortunate. It’s destructive and shameful.

CALLED SOME WHITE SUPREMACISTS ‘VERY FINE PEOPLE’

Dishonest, agenda-driven pseudo journalists like Brennan want you to believe that President Trump called Nazis “very fine people.” Here are a few of his exact words from that press conference:

“And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis or the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”

How much more clear can a person be? He said clearly he was talking about people “other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”

So who are the other people? Well, he was equally clear about that:

“You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue.”

Again, to the media, Words Matter!…until they don’t.

Whether people engaged in the larger debate about Confederate statues were there at that location on that day at all, let alone prominently, is an insignificant detail. Intellectually honest audiences knew that those were the people President Trump was referring to. At no point did any sane person believe that President Trump, explicitly or implicitly, was standing there arguing that “there are some very fine Nazis.” But that’s what Brennan and those like her casually promote. He denounced the racists unequivocally and without qualification. And he also denounced the AltLeft and AntiFa protesters whose now-normalized violence is not only absolved, but arguably promoted, when media like Christine Brennan defend them as effectively being infallible; as able to violently attack people without incurring any blame of their own.

For any reading this who aren’t aware, there’s a debate in our nation right now about whether it’s okay to violently attack people who say racist things. (Google okay to punch a Nazi and do your own research.) I believe it is not okay. I believe that the answer to speech you don’t like is more speech, and that violence is never an acceptable answer to speech. But people like Christine Brennan — and Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd and even some in the establishment GOP (examples here and here) — they’re on record promoting the view that violence is a perfectly acceptable answer to speech. And it’s evident every time this conversation about President Trump’s response to Charlottesville comes up. President Trump criticized both sides. He criticized the racists without qualification and by name, and he criticized the violent AltLeft and AntiFa protesters who show up in towns all across our nation armed with weapons of crass destruction and proud of their “Violence First” reputation. Both are blights on our nation’s progress and unity. Both deserve to be called out. For carefully and courageously navigating that reality, President Trump’s comments are purposefully mischaracterized by media like Christine Brennan so they can paint him as a racist…thus inspiring yet more division in our nation, all predicated on their lies.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: ENEMY OF MEDIA CREDIBILITY AND A UNITED AMERICAN PEOPLE

It’s no wonder that so many people in America view the media as the enemy. And it’s no wonder why otherwise positive, patriotic moments — like Olympians visiting the White House — have become so partisan and polarized. It’s not Donald Trump’s fault. We the people who voted for him have known for decades that the mainstream media was largely dishonest and partisan, and we’re glad someone with an effective platform finally stood up and called them out for it. No. The fault lies not with President Trump, nor those among our nation who know that his lament of the discredited media is overdue. The fault lies, at least in part, with those very dishonest propagandists like Christine Brennan, who masquerade as impartial journalists while distorting facts to promote their own partisan agendas. Their lies and partisan characterizations foster the disunity that’s plaguing our nation, and that millions of Americans voted in part for Donald Trump to expose and combat.


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