April 2, 2016

There’s just so much wrong with Greta Van Susteren’s short-sighted, selective outrage at the 16 conservative women pundits who have called for Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to be fired.

In an “Off The Record” commentary, Van Susteren said the following:

VAN SUSTEREN: A media scrum around a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, with routine pushing and shoving, ended with an allegation of a crime. …Now, whatever happened in the scrum – and I don’t think the video or eyewitness statement is convincing – this incident never should have ended up as a crime. It should have ended with an apology.

I’m talking about “Grab-gate” or “Pinch-gate,” whatever you want to call it. Reporter Michelle Fields, in a scrum around Donald Trump, trying to get a sound bite from him, was grabbed, pinched, resulting in bruising. She said Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, did it intentionally. Yes, of course, grabbing someone accidentally or even intentionally is not so nice but is this one a crime? Plus, don’t forget, court dockets are already so overcrowded. And now, it has been blown up even more. Sixteen women in the media - some reporters, some analysts – signing a letter calling on Trump to fire Lewandowski.

It's Trump's Effort To Stifle The Press, Not The Grabbing That Matters

Van Susteren may well be right that this incident should have ended in an apology. But in her effort to make it sound as though Fields and her supporters are hysterically over-reacting, Van Susteren somehow overlooked the main issue, which is the Trump campaign’s literal strong-arming of the press (and Fields is not the first) as well as its brutish, sexist behavior toward Fields.

As Megyn Kelly highlighted just two hours later on Fox, the Trump campaign has engaged in a systematic effort to discredit Fields. First, they attacked her as having made up the incident. Then, once the video came out showing that she had been grabbed, they started accusing her of being a threat to Trump, even though the Secret Service didn’t think so. That, Kelly pointed out, was an effort to gaslight and intimidate her.

Kelly also noted that Lewandowski had threatened her in a call to Fox. That happened and was made public in January.

Why didn’t Van Susteren point out this pattern of Trump behavior toward the press? Let’s not forget that Fields, a former Fox News contributor, is a former colleague as well.

Putting aside the question of Lewandowski’s criminal guilt or innocence, the professional way for Trump to have handled the incident would have been to immediately and dispassionately look into what happened then once Lewandowski was charged, remove him from the campaign until the criminal investigation is complete.

It’s more than puzzling that Van Susteren apparently thought all that irrelevant. Instead, she went on to suggest that the 16 women had committed some kind of journalistic malpractice:

VAN SUSTEREN: Two things: One, Lewandowski hasn’t even had a trial and they’re calling for his head. Yes, they’ve tried and convicted him. And second, each of these women has now shot herself in the foot How can any one of them continue to cover the presidential race by not waiting for the D.A.’s decision to try the case or not or wait for a jury verdict but instead, coming out swinging, taking sides in such a public way. It may be a hard sell for each of these women now covering this election to say she’s fair.

If you can stop laughing at a Fox News host complaining about anyone else’s lack of objectivity, especially covering Donald Trump, Van Susteren’s concern trolling is even more ridiculous. For one thing, each of the women are openly conservative. For another, where has Van Susteren’s concern been when Fox trotted out Mark Fuhrman as a supposedly neutral analyst to discuss Ferguson protests? When Dick Morris was presented for years as a “former Clinton advisor” without advising viewers that he virulently hates them?

As for convicting before trial, Hillary Clinton hasn’t even been charged over her emails and Fox repeatedly suggests she's on the way to jail. And, she’s been cleared of wrongdoing over Benghazi, but Fox acts as though she were convicted.

Come on, Greta, I can’t believe you don’t know better than this.

What’s even more disturbing? One day after she threw her own colleagues under the bus in favor of Trump, it was announced that Van Susteren will hold a special town hall with him on Sunday, one day before the Wisconsin primary. We can hope she'll press hi on this issue but I'm not holding my breath.

Watch Van Susteren above, from the March 30 On The Record, and The Kelly File's response later that same night.

(Crossposted at Newshounds.us)

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