In the wake of the pipe bomb mailing attack of last week, many in the media were rushing to insinuate, suggest, and, sometimes, outright say that President Donald Trump was in some way responsible for radicalizing Cesar Sayoc and other right-wing extremists. None were more direct in this accusation than the New Yorker’s David Remnick, who wrote a piece saying that while Trump was not actually the “perpetrator” of the crime (thanks for clearing that up, Dave), his rhetoric was largely to blame for the perp’s state of mind.
“The [pipe bombs] come after the President’s remarks on ‘birtherism,’ Mexican ‘rapists,’ and Charlottesville; after ‘enemy of the people’ and ‘Lock Her Up!’” writes Remnick. “They come after he has mocked the disabled and victims of sexual violence, after he has praised many of the world’s autocrats and diminished democratic allies. Violence, for him, is a source of titillation.”
That is a LOT of misinformation to pack into one paragraph, so let’s break it down.
First, there’s no evidence to connect the pipe bomb mailings to any of the above stuff, so let’s just clear that up.
Second, Trump has never, as far as we know, uttered the word “birtherism,” so we assume Remnick is taking a shot at the liberal press with that one? In all seriousness, though, we still don’t understand why it was “racist” to verify that the President of the United States was actually an eligible citizen of the country he led. Certainly, we don’t understand how it connects to violence.
Third, he never said Mexicans were rapists, no matter how many times the media repeats this lie. He said some illegal immigrants were rapists. This is a verifiable fact.
Trump did not have anything to do with organizing or promoting the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.
Trump never, as far as we know, uttered the phrase “lock her up.”
The idea that he “mocked the disabled” has been thoroughly debunked. We’re not sure where or when he mocked victims of sexual violence, but if you’re talking about his rally remarks about Christine Blasey Ford’s Magically Convenient Memory…well, sorry, but he was right on the money.
Finally, yes, he’s a little loose when it comes to praising people like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, we’ll agree with that. Are we seriously going to sit here and say that has anything whatsoever to do with a nutball sending a pipe bomb to Robert de Niro?
“Trump is a masterful demagogue of the entertainment age,” Remnick concludes. “His instruments are resentment, sarcasm, unbounded insult, casual mendacity, and the swaggering assertion of dominance. From his desk in the Oval Office, on Twitter, and at political rallies across the country, he spews poison into the atmosphere. Trump is an agent of climate change, an unceasing generator of toxic gas that raises the national temperature.”
Welp, no one can argue that Remnick is a bad writer as far as it goes, but when you dig beneath the language, you come up with a lot of sizzle and precious little steak. The national temperature has been raised, of that there is no doubt, but Trump is as much a product of that shift as he is a creator. And we certainly don’t recall a thousand mainstream think-pieces about the “temperature” of MSM news coverage when that guy tried to massacre Republican congressmen last summer. We don’t recall the media doing any serious self-reflection about the hysterical Kavanaugh coverage after someone sent ricin letters to Susan Collins. Or when Ferguson went up in flames, for that matter.
If David Remnick and others in the media are so concerned about the toxic political environment in America today, their first order of business would be to control what they can control and do their part in cleaning it up. Instead, they are doubling down on the viciousness that we’ve seen since the summer of 2015, when Donald Trump first descended that escalator.
They don’t want peace. They want to win.