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Friday, October 23, 2020
Cleanup Mode Again: CNS Does Damage Control on Trump's Non-Denial of White Supremacy

As we documented, it took nearly a day for to report the big news from the first presidential debate -- that President Trump couldn't quite denounce white suprmacism and right-wing extremism. But once it reported that, CNS was forced into damage control, a position it's familiar with.

Carig Bannister complained that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cited an "incomplete quote" of Trump to declare Trump a white supremacist, claiming that "Trump twice answered 'Sure' to [moderator Chris] Wallace’s question about whether he was 'willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups'" constituted an actual condemnation. Editor Terry Jeffrey did the same thing in responding to Nancy Pelosi's claim that Trump "would not disassociate himself" from white supremacists, declaring that "In fact, during the debate when moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump whether he was 'will tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups,' Trump said: 'Sure.'"

Melanie Arter did this as well, first noting Joe Biden's post-debate "cease and desist" response to Trump telling the far-right thugs of the Proud Boys to  "stand back and stand by," and then declaring that "As previously reported, Trump was asked to condemn white supremacists and militia groups at the presidential debate, to which Trump said, 'Sure, I’m willing to do that. I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing. I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace.'"

CNS then brought out the big guns: former pro football player Hershel Walker asserting that "Trump is not a racist." This was followed by a reworking by Craig Bannister of a piece from CNS' parent, the Media Research Center (who similarly played damage control over this) counting the "19 times" Trump has denounced racism, hufing that "two days after the first Trump-Biden presidential debate, the media continued to badger Pres. Trump, alleging that he hadn’t yet condemned white supremacists and, in particular, a group called the Proud Boys. And, once again, the president issued a clear, unequivocal condemnation of all racists and racist organizations."

Finally, CNS resorted to Charlie Daniels Jr., who's now writing a column at CNS in place of the one his late father wrote. He sarcastically whined that "the only sensible plan I can think of to allow President Trump to put this to rest once and for all" is that Trump "shall henceforth be required to condemn white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and all forms of racism every hour on the hour for the remainder of his life, and if he fails to do so, everyone will know with absolute certainty that he’s a racist."

Daniels even defended the honor of the Proud Boys: "the only problem is that they are NOT a white supremacist group. They aren’t even exclusively white. Their leader is -- in fact -- Cuban."

Not a good look, CNS (and Mr. Daniels).

UPDATE: CNS also went surprisingly crankypants on an ideological ally, Fox News correspondent John Roberts, complaining that he "badgered Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnanyover whether President Trump denounces white supremacy today – even though McEnany told him the president did so the day before" and that "Roberts’ wife, Kyra Phillips, was actually one of those Trump personally denounced white supremacy to on Wednesday."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 23, 2020 2:35 PM EDT

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