The same day we learned a Fox News reporter was slammed by a colleague for defending Trump’s Charlottesville comments like someone “in a White Supremacist chat room” would, The Ingraham Angle called on Candace Owens to make the same bogus argument. While she was at it, Owens smugly predicted Donald Trump will carry the black vote in 2020.
On Friday, we learned that Fox News Radio correspondent Jon Decker blasted colleagues Doug McKelway, a Fox News reporter, and Cody Derespina, Fox News’ digital senior editor, for their efforts to defend Trump’s Charlottesville remarks in the wake of Joe Biden’s attack the day before.
As The Daily Beast reported earlier this month, there’s a movement among supporters to try to rehabilitate Trump’s statement, that there were some “very fine people on both sides” at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” neo-Nazi rally, as innocuous remarks.
Although McKelway backed down, a producer at The Ingraham Angle stepped up to the white supremacist chat room plate. He or she picked none other than African American black-attacker Candace Owens for the job. The show didn’t seem to mind that Owens had recently been caught legitimizing Hitler (then backtracking). Or maybe that was just the cred for the job. As The Root put it, Owens is “the black person that all racists are talking about when they say they have a black friend.”
Guest host Raymond Arroyo openly nudged Owens to rehabilitate Trump by asking her whether it “really happened” that “the president called white supremacists 'fine people.'”
Sure enough, the ever-self-righteous Owens declared, “That’s exactly not what happened and you can go and you can look up the full speech of what Trump said. He specifically said ‘I am not speaking about white supremacists or Nazis. So this is not a legitimate issue at all.”
Actually, it’s the Hitler Honey who is illegitimate here and I’m not talking about how she ran a Trump-bashing website (that even compared him to Hitler!) before she became a Trump fan and suggested Hitler might have turned out OK if he had only been a nationalist.
Unfortunately for Owens and the Trumpers, their man really did say there were some fine people among the white supremacists and Nazis. As Vox noted, “The attendees of Unite the Right were crystal clear as to what the event was supposed to be — not a show of support for history, but a ‘pro-white” activist event.’” Trump falsely claimed the Unite the Right group “didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis” and specifically said there were “some very fine people” among them. He also clearly implied an equivalency between the two sides before that..
As per Owens’ suggestion, here is what Trump said, in context:
TRUMP: I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.
REPORTER: You said there was hatred and violence on both sides?
TRUMP: I do think there is blame – yes, I think there is blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And, and, and, and if you reported it accurately, you would say.
REPORTER: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville.
TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
Unfortunately, the Democratic guest, Shavar Jeffries, was far too polite and, as a result, played right into Fox’s hands. Owens’ comments and Arroyo’s failure to challenge them, were worse than Corey Lewandowski’s infamous “womp, womp.” That got the viral condemnation it deserved, I believe, because the Democratic guest immediately said, “How dare you? How dare you? How absolutely dare you, sir? How dare you?”
Instead, Jeffries said nothing, thus suggesting there was nothing egregiously wrong with what was going on. So Owens went on to suggest that Biden is a racial hypocrite because he was mentored by Robert Byrd. Yes, that’s the same Robert Byrd the right loves to remind us was once in the KKK and loves to forget that he completely renounced the organization. Jeffries said nothing about that, either.
Later, Owens hilariously claimed, “black support has doubled” for Trump and that he will carry the black vote in 2020. Trump got 8% of the black vote in 2016. If he has a 16% approval rating now, that’s hardly a great omen for next year. Jeffries put up a fine counterargument but he should have done something to seize control of the discussion. Something like bursting in with a loud guffaw and demanding, “Are you calling an 84% disapproval good news?” Just like he also should have said, “No matter how you try to excuse Trump’s words, he said, “There were very fine people” among the Nazis in Charlottesville.
I strongly believe that Democrats should participate in these Fox News discussions (but not candidate town halls). And I don't mean to denigrate Mr. Jeffries who was intelligent, knowledgeable and refused to be pushed around by the smart-alecky liar Owens. He'd be great on any other network. But on Fox, these “strategists” MUST stop going along with the charade that they are engaging in a legitimate debate, understand that they are there for GOP/Trump-friendly political theater, and show some actual strategy by seizing control of the script. It boggles my mind that they don’t get this.
Watch Owens spew falsehoods about Trump, Charlottesville and black support above, from the April 26, 2019 The Ingraham Angle.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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