On Thursday’s show, Buck brought on Charles Cooke, editor of National Review Online, to discuss, among other matters, an incident involving a reporter Tweeting his outrage over a comment by Jeff Sessions that was not only taken out of context, but never actually said.
Sessions allegedly referred to illegal immigrants as “filth” when, in fact, the use of the word “filth” was intended to be in reference to drug cartels. To further complicate matters, Sessions never spoke the line; it was part of his written speech, which was released to the press pool, but he did not say it aloud.
Filth. He described illegal immigrants as “filth.”
Whatever your views on immigration that’s f**king embarrassing for a US official to say. https://t.co/sl5x5uLObK
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) April 11, 2017
“There’s a pattern here, and it’s a pattern born of ignorance and misunderstanding, and some of it is willful,” Cooke said. “The fact is that since Donald Trump was elected, the press seems to have put down its fact-checking red pens, and seems to have abandoned its skepticism. And the reason for that is that it has preconceivied notions not only for what conservatives believe but what Donald Trump and those around him are like.”
“It’s contributing to a culture in which people don’t listen to the press, and don’t believe what they read in the newspapers,” Cooke said. “And that’s not good at all.”
Buck inquired whether these apparent mistakes weren’t, in fact, useful.
Cooke agreed. “There’s a tiny piece of heresy, and the piece gets written. And it later comes out there was nothing to it at all. This has become something of a party trick. The lie gets 10,000 retweets, and the correction gets 100, if that.”
Buck agreed. “There are certain outlets that know their audience. The Washington Post tries to get its facts right, but knows that 70% of its readership is anti-Trump. They base things on a flimsy source they won’t name because they know it will play well.”
Cooke went a step further. “I think there’s a more sinister thing at play here. It’s a rejection of the Enlightenment. The truth is the truth, reason is reason, yet when it is pointed out that the critics of Trump and his administration are wrong, one hears, ‘Well, they aren’t good people anyway.'”
“We saw this perfectly illustrated with Sean Spicer,” Cooke continued. “Nobody believes Sean Spicer is a Holocaust denier, but the press was quick to label him as such because he made a bad analogy.”
“It’s one thing to see the obvious twisting going on from somebody who is open about their biases. It’s another thing to see it from people who would recoil in horror if you suggested they were anything but impartial. Well, here’s a newsflash: you cannot be impartial and tweet ‘The Resistance.'”
Click above to hear the interview in full.