November 27, 2018

In a glaring misstep, New Day's Alisyn Camerota opines that Trump can get away with lying about problems at the border because it's, ya know, close enough for political purposes.

"Is that a lie worth telling? Are you suggesting it's a lie worth telling to say that the agents were badly hurt?" John Avlon said.

"I think people have begun to metabolize the president's lies and knows that he uses hyperbole and exaggerates it. The heart of the story is that there is a problem at the border and he is going to be able to run with that," she said.

"It may be the heart of the story but let's not buy into truthiness and normalize it," Avlon insisted.

"What we have here is the guy running the border agents yesterday saying something different than what the president said at a rally. And who are you going to believe, the guy on the ground or the president throwing red meat to the crowd? Of course it's not good to have agents belted with rocks but also gets the backdrop of the president encouraging people at the border to fire on protesters throwing rocks."

"He's not encouraging him. He's saying I've given them permission," Camerota said.

"I mean, you know, I think the history of leadership would indicate that's not saying don't use lethal force. And tear gas itself is a different -- a different standard than we've seen used against people and children at the border," Avlon said.

"Is it? Because there's all of this information that in 2013 the Obama administration also used gas at the border," Camerota said. (Well, Alisyn, the fact that the only publications pushing this "information" today are extremist websites should be somewhat of a clue!)

Avlon was visibly impatient with her "both sides do it" position.

"Look, placing the border is difficult," he said.

"But the president has created an entirely different atmosphere that's politically toxic around this intentionally and doubled down, tripled down on it last night at the rallies. This is part of his strategy. The big picture isn't just the president trying to politicize immigration using fear and anger, it's not about his distorting the facts, we've seen that over and over.

"There's an election today, we talked about three weeks ago today, we're still counting votes. They have a runoff in Mississippi today where, you know, having an African-American elected since Reconstruction and it's a fascinating race. All eyes on Mississippi," Avlon pointed out.

FYI: I'm not one of those people who thinks Obama was a saint, but the 2013 border skirmish which wingnuts are using this morning was, uh, different. It was an organized crowd of grown men who tried to force their way past agents, not women and children.

And it should be clear, as I've been saying for 15 years now, that when a Democrat does something that sounds horrible and even equivalent to some Republican horror, there is almost always a more nuanced explanation. This is why I give Democrats the benefit of the doubt. As long as I've been blogging, and as many hours as I've spent tracking down these alleged scandals, only rarely has there been anything but a kernel of a story.

Bottom line: If this 2013 story was as bad as wingnuts are trying to make it sound, they would have a point. But it wasn't, and they don't.

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