Holy hell, folks—talk about a hard turn into the Twilight Zone, with this absurd take on National Review’s David French’s post about preparing for a nuclear missile strike. French, who was commenting on the wholly irresponsible missile launch alert that gripped Hawaii in fear for almost 40 minutes, was merely suggesting that a North Korean missile strike wouldn’t be as apocalyptic as the media makes it out to be. You can check the blast radius damage online. He says things would be different if Russia and the U.S., or the U.S. and China, got into a nuclear war, but the gist of the piece was be prepared, don’t take selfies if it does occur, and be calm—take shelter. That somehow became David French says conservatives are more likely to survive because they live in the suburbs, or something. Also, screw the Democrats who live in cities. Wait—bring it back a second; this is what he wrote [emphasis mine]:
You get an alert on your phone that a missile is inbound. You flip on the television to confirm, and it’s repeating the same message. What do you do? Do you prepare to die, or do you prepare to live? Prepare to live.
As tempting as it may be, don’t spend the precious minutes between missile alert and missile impact texting family, sending tearful goodbyes on Snapchat, or attempting to reconcile old grudges. Don’t do it. First, you have to understand that the odds are overwhelming that you’ll survive an initial blast.
Nuclear weapons are devastating, but it’s a Hollywood myth that any individual strike will vaporize an entire American city, much less the suburbs and countryside. You can go to sites like nuclearsecrecy.com to see the blast radius of direct nuclear strikes at various yields.
The bottom line, even if a nuclear weapon as big as the largest North Korea has ever tested were to impact squarely on Manhattan, the vast majority of New Yorkers would survive the initial blast. A strike would devastate central Honolulu but leave many suburbs intact. If the missile misses a city center even by a small amount, the number of initial casualties plunges dramatically.
Oh, so even those in urban areas would survive. French then says take shelter, head the basement or center part of your house, store food and water, and avoid going outside. Also, do you have enough supplies? Are you prepared? Do you have a plan for a disaster? There is plenty of information out there to help you get started. This is a how-to post, which became this, according to liberals (via Newsweek):
About 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas with large regional areas—including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago—remaining the most densely populated, according to numbers from the 2010 Census. Yet there are some 3,500 “urban” areas across the U.S.
During the 2016 election, Trump won 50 percent of the vote in suburban America and 62 percent of the vote in small cities and rural areas compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45 and 34 percent performance in the regions.
Conservatives tend to prefer small towns and rural areas, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, with 46 percent of liberals preferring city life compared to just 4 percent of conservatives who said the same.
The most sprawling urban areas in the U.S. are also the most Republican compared to densely populated urban centers.
It was reprinted at the left wing Raw Story. They’re trying to attack French for something he wasn’t insinuating over portions of his post that don’t exist. He never said that nuclear war is fine because the suburbs would be spared. And as indicated above, he said that city dwellers would be fine. We talk about fake news; this is a prime example.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid fanned the flames when she tweeted, “We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, "don't worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities." Shame on you, David French.”
Luckily, a lot of writers, conservative and liberal, called out Reid, noting that French never said what she was insinuating. She later deleted the tweet and apologized.
A tale of hyperbolic telephone, in three acts— Julia Galef (@juliagalef) January 17, 2018
1. National Review: A nuke would spare most people, especially in suburbs but also in big cities
2. Newsweek: NR says a nuke would spare conservative suburbs
3. Twitter: NR says nukes are ok because they'd only hit Dems & minorities pic.twitter.com/uQtdUwQrh1
This is not what @DavidAFrench's says - this is a totally unfair characterization of his column. And frankly I'm not surprised your framing has come from Newsweek which is an embarrassment.— Yashar Ali ?? (@yashar) January 17, 2018
Read David's column here: https://t.co/SJaf7Evda4 https://t.co/oA1vdfghF7
This is straight up libel. French's piece doesn't mention anything about Democrats or minorities or even allude to them in any way whatsoever. https://t.co/IWZc6F9DIn https://t.co/wlChVsYO31— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) January 17, 2018
This is absolutely not what @DavidAFrench wrote. Nor does it sound remotely like anything he would write. What an incredibly irresponsible and disappointing tweet. https://t.co/ohdPBzwJ8o— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) January 17, 2018
Really good to see decent people across the political spectrum rallying to condemn this slander https://t.co/4h8TXicLCt— Cathy Young (@CathyYoung63) January 18, 2018
Taking back my take on this take - the @rawstory writeup doesn't reflect @DavidAFrench's intent and I think @Aunty__Em would probably agree. David and I disagree on almost everything, but my take on this was off track. https://t.co/YARwfhRNRE— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 18, 2018
Even posts about being prepared are being politicized to death. Also, the North and South Korea held talks for the first time in a couple years, they agreed to deescalate as the Winter Olympics draws closer; U.S. and South Korean military exercises will cease for example. They’re also having both of their countries’ teams enter at the same time during the opening ceremony. South Korea’s president gave Trump “big credit” for putting pressure on North Korea to come to the table. The world is not ending, folks. Relax.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea says rival Koreas have agreed to form their first joint Olympic team and march together in opening ceremony.— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) January 17, 2018
Editor's Note: Tweaked headline to say Reid retracted her tweet. She really didn't apologize, though that might be the closest she ever comes to giving one in this instance. Also, Reid is still a host on the network.
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