August 18, 2017

Bill Starnes, Trump supporter and a member of the North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, joined CNN's Brooke Baldwin to discuss his views on why confederate statues should remain standing. It's all for "history's sake," of course.

Right out of the gate, Starnes did not make much of an impression when he lobbed the tired old talking point about the Civil War being about "states' rights" and not slavery. Baldwin, having none of that, gently corrected him by reminding him that the consensus among historians is that "the Civil War wasn't about state's rights and secession," but instead about "upholding the economic system of slavery."

After quoting a Harvard professor and historian, Baldwin chided him. "I mean, I know as a proud southerner, you don't want to hear that, but you can't rewrite history."

"I'm not trying to rewrite history," Starnes shot back. "The professor there needs to actually study some history before he opens his mouth and says something that stupid. "

In a style Jeffrey Lord would have applauded, Starnes then launched into a diatribe about how there was no legislation being worked on to end slavery on the federal level, while snarkily suggesting that perhaps Baldwin should do her homework before an interview.

"With all due respect, as a fellow southerner, with all due respect, I did do my homework and I did cite this so please sir don't tell me to do homework," she said.

She then proceeded to move to the pain being felt by people all around the country at what is happening. Pointing out that Germans don't force Jewish children to attend schools named after Adolf Hitler, nor should Americans force African-Americans to attend a school named after Robert E. Lee, she asked Starnes whether he acknowledged the feelings of those Americans.

Bad idea, because after all, this guy really is defending the values of white supremacy everywhere, he denies the actual cause of the civil war, and thinks Brooke Baldwin is just a CNN flack for him to kick around.

Confidently, Starnes answered: "The truth on this, the pure fact is, Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler have a lot more in common than Robert E. Lee and Adolf Hitler. Robert E. Lee did not kill civilians. Abraham Lincoln did. The union army came into the south and killed over 70,000 southern civilians, men, women, and children, black and white, slave and free."

Defiantly, he wrapped it up by telling Baldwin, "You can study some history and find that out. It's very easy to look up."

Flustered and annoyed, Baldwin cut his mic, telling him, "I don't think we want to compare Adolf Hitler and Abraham Lincoln."

She then cut to the Harvard historian she quoted in the beginning.

This is what happens when you try to present "both sides." You get people like Starnes, who have no business on a national broadcast like that, spouting lies and nonsense, belittling women and people of color, and comparing Abraham Lincoln and Hitler.

Even though Baldwin cut him off, maybe bookers and producers should have chosen not to put him on in the first place. Better to just stick to factual reporting rather than incendiary opinions.

And for the record, Starnes proves that there are no "really fine people" on "both sides." Anyone who would make this argument on national television with a straight face is NOT a "really fine person."

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