This fell through the cracks, but in the spirit of "fake news," comes this segment from CNN's Brooke Baldwin prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was about—you guessed it—the alt-right and racism—and whether President-elect Donald J. Trump is sincere in distancing himself from this segment of American politics that dabbles in white nationalism. CNN’s resident Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord said last night that this movement and its leader, Richard Spencer, are racist; Spencer was at Texas A&M last night, which drew protest his appearance last night. Yet, Lord noted that Spencer and his crew is a small segment of the population whose views are abhorrent, but seem to be getting a lot of media attention that they don’t deserve. Yet, it’s racism, it’s someone who likes Trump, therefore the media has to try to link the two—as if Spencer was some top adviser on the campaign.
The group’s conference in Washington D.C. last month had a little over 200 people. It’s ridiculous how people think the alt-right is somehow taking over the country, or the conservative movement. Yet, CNN and other still like to throw the question at the president-elect: will you disavow, apologize, and distance yourself from this movement? Trump said he doesn’t want to energize white nationalists, and he doesn’t want people to attack others based on their skin color or religious background. He told such people who are purportedly committing the attacks to “stop it” on CBS’ 60 minutes.
Well, for some of the Left, Trump’s declaration that he doesn’t want to energize white nationalists isn’t worth much. On November 22, CNN’s Baldwin invited fellow colleague Paris Dennard and Charles Kaiser, who proceeded to not only use the n-word on live television, but also misattribute it to incoming chief White House strategist Steve Bannon. Baldwin scolded Kaiser for using that language on her show. Kaiser later apologized for screwing up the attribution (via Erik Wemple/WaPo):
Whether you're quoting someone or not, using the n-word on my show is not okay. Period.— Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN) November 22, 2016
Kaiser offered several tidbits of advice for President-elect Trump to make good on his assurance that he doesn’t seek to “energize” the alt-right: “He should never retweet someone with the name ‘WhiteGenocide’ who lists his address as ‘Jew America,’ that’s what he did in February. He should never ask his supporters again to give the Nazi salute. … If you don’t want the support of the alt-right, don’t choose as a White House counselor … a man who uses the word ‘n—–,’ whose wife says that he did not want his kids to go to a school with too many Jews.”
Yet Kaiser’s allegation about Bannon’s use of the n-word follows a cold trail.
That’s because it was a mistake, Kaiser told the Erik Wemple Blog in a brief chat Tuesday afternoon. “I do apologize for one thing in particular. I mistook Bannon for Sessions. I was mistaking the one for the other,” he said. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is the president-elect’s nominee to serve as attorney general; in 1986, he was rejected for a federal judgeship after allegations that he’d used racist terms. The Guardian reported Monday that he’d faced accusations of referring to a black Alabama official in 1981 as a “n—–.” So that’s the alleged epithet that Kaiser was seeking to mention. Sessions denied having used the term in hearings regarding the judgeship.
Wemple also wrote that Kaiser told him that he probably wouldn’t have used the n-word in the segment if he had to do it all over again, but added “There’s a part of me that feels you can’t fully express the shocking nature of the first appointments of Donald Trump without using the actual words used by these appointees.”
Well, to start, if a conservative had used the n-word in a context like this, quoting (or in this case misquoting) someone to make a point—the Left would have a conniption fit. Second, Kaiser isn’t the only one who is pushing false claims about Bannon. On November 30, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tried to label him a white supremacist, which led CNN’s Anderson Cooper to push back saying there’s zero evidence of that (via The Hill):
[Trump’s] got as his strategic adviser someone who’s a white supremacist,” she said of Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“Wait a minute, there’s no evidence he’s a white supremacist,” Cooper said, interrupting Warren. "Obviously, there are people who are white supremacists who support Donald Trump and support Breitbart or Steve Bannon.”
Warren audibly exhaled at Cooper’s remarks before defending her criticism of Bannon, who was also Trump’s presidential campaign CEO.
“Steve Bannon has certainly associated himself with white supremacists,” said Warren. "Will you go that far?”
“I don’t know that you can say, though, that he’s a white supremacist,” Cooper retorted.
Granted, there is plenty of criticism to lob at the incoming chief strategist for the Trump White House, but the white supremacist accusation is not accurate and associating with people who hold such views isn’t the same thing.
Last, can we stop with the whole shtick that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who will be our next attorney general, is somehow the spawn of Satan? The man led efforts to desegregate schools and he took on the KKK; he’s such an awful, awful man (sarc.). Also, some of the more serious allegations of racism lobbed at Sessions from his time as a U.S. Attorney seem to be hearsay or cast in a different light once you get Sessions’ side of the story. He denied some of the most egregious accusations against him.
The basis for Sessions’ failed judicial nomination in the 1980s stemmed from complaints filed by former assistant U.S. attorney Thomas Figures to the National Bar Association, where he alleged that Sessions called him “boy,” which was rejected by both Sessions and the two witnesses Figures said were near him at the time of the incident, E.T. Rolison and Ginny Granade (who is now a federal judge), who were also with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Washington Post fact checked these statements and gave both sides of the story, not offering a ruling so the readers can make up their own minds. Figures died in 2015. And if Sessions is such a terrible person, why did the late Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who was a Republican at the time, regret his vote against him. Maybe it’s because when Sessions was elected senator and was placed on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter saw that he was an egalitarian. That’s, uh, the opposite of racist.
It seems the Trump presidency has liberals going so mad they’ll spew racial epithets on live television to add shock value when attacking folks they don’t like—even if it ends in the quote being misattributed.