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In yet another predictable and orchestrated discussion on a show that only gets traction through random social media clips on a network that hardly anyone watches, self-unaware CNN host Brian Stelter offered two unreliable and without evidence implications: that “Trumpism” is equivalent somehow to fascism and that the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is getting insufficient attention.
Stelter is the host of the oddly named “Reliable Sources” program that is supposed to be about the media but is mainly focused on Fox News bashing (with minimal reporting on his own channel’s incomplete employee screening practices) and demonizing President Trump and his supporters.
He began the segment with Never Trumper David Frum by asking him if he still maintains “that Trumpism is moving toward fascism.”
A former G.W. Bush speechwriter and Iraq War cheerleader, Frum writes for The Atlantic, a publication which Fox News host Tucker Carlson has described as a shameless corporate mouthpiece and a place for the ruling class to talk to itself.
Last month, Frum — who still thinks the Trump-Russia collusion hoax is real — proposed that hospitals “quietly” transform unvaxxed persons into second–class citizens, or worse, when it comes to healthcare, primarily in the emergency room.
‘The Five’ unloads on Swalwell, Frum for ‘despicable’ new ideas to force unvaxxed to succumb to jab https://t.co/qLXHpQq6v4
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) December 15, 2021
Frum responded to Stelter’s question with some word salad:
“To my way of thinking, fascism is a popular movement that justifies violence in the name of some kind of overthrow of outdated institutions and to create some kind of national regeneration. Well, that’s what you hear more and more from the people who are minimizing this…they’re not horrified by the violence anymore; they’re increasingly accepting it. And they’re accepting, too, that our institutions, the institutions of the United States, are so defective that they need to be overthrown and rebuilt and renewed in some radical new way with violence always in the background as the tool by which this will be done,” Frum declared.
Stelter then wondered that outside of CNN and MSNBC, if the other national media outlets are taking January 6 seriously enough.
“It’s difficult to keep up; that’s been the story since 2015. I mean, there is a scandal and then another scandal and then another scandal. There’s an outrage and then another outrage and then another outrage. We kept saying through the Trump presidency, at least in the beginning of it, the mantra that many people used was the phrase, this is not normal. This is not normal. But the truth is now we have to accept, this is now normal. This is now normal…,” Frum replied.
“And, and the central question, a central question of American politics for the future is going to be, in 2022 and 2024 , do you accept this and if you don’t accept it, what will you do to keep the country true to its democratic and liberal traditions?
The subtext here is that the media, along with the partisan J6 investigatory committee in the U.S. House, seem very concerned that Donald Trump will seek a second term in 2024 and win, with the GOP gaining control of Congress at the ballot box this year as a precursor.
The vandals at the Capitol were universally condemned, moreover, as soon as the wrongdoing happened. Whether those being prosecuted are receiving appropriate due process afforded to criminal defendants in the legal system is an entirely different topic.
Stelter and Frum, and many others, seemed unconcerned, however, about the violent civil unrest that swept across America in the summer of 2020 which was committed, according to Carlson, by “Joe Biden voters.”
Their discussion on the network that President Trump memorably described as very fake news appears to be another example of projection (or what is sometimes described as transference or inversion of language).
That is, on the mirror-image left, peaceful protests are violent and actual violence equates to peaceful protests, authoritarians lament authoritarianism, radicals brand their adversaries as extreme, misinformers complain about misinformation, democracy underminers pretend to protect democracy, and conspiracy mongers condemn conspiracy theories.
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