June 19, 2019

Chuck Todd used his guests and his bully pulpit to attempt to shame Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her remarks about the concentration camps at the border. It was a shameful display of mansplaining and ignorance, all bundled up into a two-minute clip, with some bothsiderism on the side and a dollop of intellectual dishonesty, too.

Before I launch into what was so wrong with Chuck's comments, a little background. AOC did indeed call the border camps "concentration camps," which by definition are areas where government warehouses people of a certain race or religion.

Just yesterday, the author of Godwin's law corrected MSNBC's Chris Hayes about the use of that term.

"I think they're concentration camps," Mike Godwin wrote. "Keep in mind that one of their functions *by design* is to punish those individuals and families who are detained. So even the "charged" term is appropriate."

Let's leave that as our starting point as we unpack Chuck's shameless rant against AOC. We pick up the rant after he has played AOC's Instagram remarks and set the table for the rant.

TODD: That was obviously New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram. After being criticized, Ocasio-Cortez tried to make a distinction between concentration camps and Nazi death camps where the industrialized mass slaughter of the Holocaust occurred. Fair enough. But Congresswoman, tens of thousands were also brutalized, tortured, starved and ultimately died in concentration camps. Camps like Dachau. If you want to criticize the shameful treatment of people at our southern border, fine. You will have plenty of company but be careful comparing them to Nazi concentration camps because they're not at all comparable in the slightest.

But here's where upsetting as her comment. Some Democrats have been reluctant to condemn her remarks. Fellow New York congressman Jerry Nadler tweeted one of the lessons from the Holocaust is 'Never Again'. We fail to learn that lesson when we don't call out such inhumanity right in front of us.

OKAY, STOP !!!!! (apologies to Crooked Media's Jon Lovett) Chuck left out a whole chunk of what Jerry Nadler tweeted, which happened to be the part where Nadler explained why he agreed with AOC. What a dishonest edit, Chuck.

Here's the whole tweet:


Yes, Chuck left out the part where Nadler clearly explains why he supports AOC. "...not only to mass murder, but also to the dehumanization of people, violations of basic rights, and assaults on our common morality."

What a convenient omission Chuck made. It enabled him to scold Nadler too. As long as he could ignore Nadler's argument for why it is right to use such a loaded term, he could twist it into something to use against AOC.


TODD: Jerry Nadler surely knows migrant detainment camps are not the same as concentration camps. So why didn't he just say that?

If you read the whole tweet, you'd understand exactly what Nadler was saying and why he was standing with her.

But hey, come for the intellectual dishonesty, stay for the bothsiderism.

Why are we so sheepish calling out people we agree with politically these days? Obviously this isn't a Democratic Party thing. It's an even bigger problem on the Republican side of the aisle when it comes to President Trump and the reluctance there. Are we really so ensconced in our political bubbles -- liberal versus conservative -- that we cannot talk about right versus wrong anymore? Some things are bigger than partisanship. At least they used to be.

In the interim, the crux of what's truly at stake is lost. And what is this country going to do about what's happening at the border in this humanitarian crisis? We will get to that at some point I guess after we have this debate. No doubt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cares about what's happening deeply at the border. But she just did the people there a tremendous disservice by distracting from them. She said she didn't use those words lightly. Well, neither did I.

So if Chuck Todd really cared about what's happening at the border, maybe he could have let go of his need to scold AOC for his entire show and actually, you know, shed some light on what's happening at the border. Instead he felt compelled to fluff up his man-feathers, waggle his rhetorical finger at her, and be utterly wrong, all at once.

Here's a tweet that sums up how unnecessary this whole rant was:

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