An establishment media figure who describes himself as a “defender of experts” complained Saturday after CNN committed the grave sin of conducting some actual journalism.
Speaking in Poland, President Joe Biden said on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power” were his exact words.
The stunning remark provoked a global uproar, according to The Washington Post.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s reaction to Biden’s remarks that Putin “cannot remain in power”
“I wouldn’t use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin,” Macron told France 3 TV channel in remarks aired on Sunday. @Reuters
— Phil Stewart (@phildstewart) March 27, 2022
“It was a remarkable statement that would reverse stated U.S. policy, directly countering claims from senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who have insisted regime change is not on the table,” the Post reported.
“It went further than even U.S. presidents during the Cold War, and immediately reverberated around the world as world leaders, diplomats, and foreign policy experts sought to determine what Biden said, what it meant — and, if he didn’t mean it, why he said it.”
To its credit, CNN got with the program and reported the truth — or at least it did via its chyrons, namely one that read, “Biden: Putin Cannot Remain In Power.”
But though the chyron was a perfectly accurate, verbatim quote from Biden’s speech, it infuriated Tom Nichols, a “contributing writer” at The Atlantic whose Twitter bio describes him as a “defender of” so-called “experts.”
This is irresponsible. This chyron makes it seem like this is somehow a war aim. pic.twitter.com/nHwlseLjmv
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 26, 2022
According to Nichols, it was “irresponsible” for CNN to report Biden’s exact words without adding context, such as the apparent fact that “Biden was … just being Biden,” and that what he’d said had been a mere “gaffe.”
The Atlantic writer was so confident in this belief that he even penned a column about it.
“What Biden was doing, of course, was being Joe Biden. He was speaking for all of us, from the heart. One of the more endearing things about the president—at least for those of us who admire him—is that he has almost no inner monologue and regularly engages in the kind of gaffe where a politician says something that is impolitic but true,” Nichols wrote.
After throwing in some light criticism of the president, Nichols then concluded his sycophantic piece by calling for “let[ting] his remark pass for what it was—an outburst—and get[ting] back to helping Ukraine save its independence.”
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 27, 2022
Over on Twitter meanwhile, he acted as if the Biden administration walking back the president’s remarks were enough to clear the air.
“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia or regime change,” a White House official has reportedly claimed.
Nichols appears to believe that this simple statement alone is enough to undo the “global uproar” caused by the president’s clear-as-day remarks.
If your staff is explaining what you really meant after you said something, it’s a gaffe.
That’s how gaffes work. If you meant to say it, your staff would be saying “his words speak for themselves, we have nothing to clarify.”
If you can’t see that, you might be a tad partisan.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 27, 2022
Neither Nichols’ tweets nor his write-up have been well-received on Twitter.
Imagine thinking the irresponsible party here is the network reporting what happened, not the President who casually added ‘regime change’ as a necessary component of peaceful resolution.
If it’s indeed grownups time, maybe sit this conversation out, Tom. pic.twitter.com/hgbavuYzFI
— Joe Colangelo (@Itsjoeco) March 27, 2022
You literally blamed his gaffe on CNN, you absolute clown. You will keep slurping up Morning Joe table scraps, who gave Trump more publicity than anyone in 2016. You’re a goddamn Simpsons character.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) March 27, 2022
nah. it’s literally what he said. any major media organization would lead with that headline.
bet it’s on top of at least a few of the major papers tomorrow too
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) March 26, 2022
How dare they quote the president as he was speaking into a microphone.
— jimtreacher.substack.com (@jtLOL) March 26, 2022
How about the statement itself being irresponsible? The statement we all heard and watched, which was spoken, by the president.
— Juana Capital (@JuanaCapital) March 26, 2022
You blame the Chyron but not the guy who actually said it?
— Admiral Quality: Music-Software/Flight/Space/Sci (@AdmiralQuality) March 26, 2022
That water you are carrying must be getting really heavy lately
— CF Frost (@newswhisperer) March 27, 2022
The irony is that Nichols, who appears to be a far-leftist, never gave former President Donald Trump this generosity when he “gaffed,” as subtly noted in the tweet below:
I, for one, hope we can get past this moment where we listen to what people say and start going back to searching through speeches to assign dog whistles that reaffirm that people who disagree with us are all evil and out to do that stuff we assume they want to do.
— Ben@msys (@BenSearsMSYS) March 26, 2022
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