‘Gaslighting the American people’: Lester Holt claims crime wave facing nation driven ‘not by reality’

NBC’s Lester Holt provided the latest Orwellian update attempting to salvage Democrat campaigns like that of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul as he claimed in a bout of gaslighting that crime concerns were driven, “not by reality but by videos…”

(Video: NBC)

Hosting the Friday edition of “NBC Nightly News” the anchor did his level best to present the facts of measurable increases in crime as merely a fear-induced perception driven by Republican propaganda.

Treating public safety as a talking point, Holt opened by suggesting, “As candidates fine-tune their closing messages ahead of Tuesday’s vote, an issue finding traction for many campaigns is voter worries about crime. But as we found, the state of crime in America is not always what it appears to be.”

With viral videos of crimes committed and headlines across front pages displayed, the anchor narrated, “Tonight, fear is on the ballot; crime now the centerpiece of campaigns across the country, fueled, some say, not by reality but by videos of rampant lawlessness and some unsettling headlines.”

Included was a clip from an ad for Hochul’s gubernatorial challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin where the congressman said, “Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.”

This led civil rights attorney Alec Karakatsanis to contend to Holt, “I see an attempt by the right-wing to scare people into unwinding certain very smaller forms.”

The host also endeavored to downplay dangers as he argued those reports were coming from fringe outlets designed to instill fear. “You know, when I pick up a tabloid and hear about somebody being pushed on the subway or assaulted on the street, that’s real and it’s scary,” he said.

As later pointed out by former New York City Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton, “You can use statistics to tell one story or tell another,” and Karakatsanis did exactly that when he claimed, “If you look at the police and FBI reported crime rates, we are at near historic lows in the country. Crime has been falling since the 1990s.”

What Holt didn’t bother to clarify about his guest was that Karakatsanis founded the activist group Civil Rights Corps which advocates for bail reforms though he did tangentially note that “data from 2021 and 2022 is conflicting and incomplete” because, as American Wire covered in March, agencies have not been participating in the new system for reporting crime statistics.

“Any candidate who tells you that bail reform is causing crime is lying to you,” Karakatsanis further argued. “We know from a wealth of scientific evidence that keeping people in jail, even for a few days after their arrest actually makes us less safer (sic). It makes people more likely to be arrested in the future for crime.”

Of course, nobody has argued that bail reform is “causing crime.” Rather, the argument is cashless bail has permitted criminals to go free without realistic consequences for their acts, thus eliminating a necessary deterrent.

Based on Hochul’s recent debate performance where Zeldin had called out her failure at reducing crime in the state of New York and said, “We’re halfway through the debate. She still hasn’t talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes,” which earned the response, “I don’t know why that’s so important to you,” it became apparent to the public that dealing with the serious issue was not a concern of hers.

Bratton went on to tell Holt, “Myself, I believe [cashless bail] has had an impact. It may take us more time to clearly define it.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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