The main problem the United States faces right now is a simple one: violent, white supremacist fascism is on the rise, and it is being supported by the Republican Party.
That’s it. It’s not “extremes on both sides.” It’s not “a breakdown in civility.” It’s not “divisive identity politics.” It’s that the conservative movement in America is fueling a rise in fascist hatred throughout the country—the kind that drove a Nazi to enter a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning and murder 11 people while reportedly screaming “All Jews must die,” or that pushed a white supremacist to kill two black people in Kentucky but promise white people that he wouldn’t harm them.
It would sure be nice if the most powerful members of our elite media would ever reflect this in their handling of this national crisis. But they’re not.
Take this morning’s Meet the Press—the most prestigious Sunday morning show and one of the most high-profile perches in TV news. Meet the Press is hosted by Chuck Todd, who recently wrote an article in The Atlantic about how people like him needed to stop shying away from accurately representing the current realities of American politics, even if that meant being called biased by conservatives.
Did Todd bring that new spirit of tough honesty to the task of covering the Pittsburgh massacre? He did not.
In one segment, Todd brought on Reps. Steve Stivers and Ben Ray Lujan, the chairs of the House Republican and Democratic campaign arms, respectively. You might think this would be a place where Todd pointed out to Stivers that Republicans hold all the power in American politics right now; that a Republican president is actively stoking white nationalism; that Republicans are trying very hard to suppress the vote across the country; that there is a connection between the horrendous, anti-Semitic Republican propaganda campaign about the refugee caravan in Central America and the Pittsburgh shooting.
None of that happened. The closest we got was when Todd obliquely challenged Stivers about a blatantly anti-Semitic ad about George Soros that Republicans are running. But he then made sure to say to Lujan, “You guys do it too with the Koch Brothers, I guess.” Both sides, right? So much for Chuck Todd, Truth Teller.
That was depressing enough. What came next was worse. One of the guests on Todd’s weekly panel was Erick Erickson, whose history of racism, sexism, and conspiracy-mongering have not dented his reputation as a Respectable Conservative Voice. Erickson has been pushing ugly conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan in just the past few days.
This is how Chuck Todd, fearless interrogator, handled Erickson’s very public and shameful behavior: one vague line. That line, in its totality: “Sometimes people get mad at you, thinking that you traffic these conspiracy theories, and I know that there are others that are, that are—.”
That’s it. Chuck Todd brought a vile representative of the conservative movement onto his extremely prestigious program and did virtually nothing to force Erickson to account for the things he has said. And then his show promoted Erickson as a man telling the conservative movement some hard truths about conspiracies, without mentioning that Erickson has been pushing some of those same conspiracies himself.
We don’t have time for this kind of behavior from the press. There is a national emergency happening. There are people being murdered. Shame on Meet the Press for this, and shame on an elite media that is obscuring the truth of what is happening in this country. We will pay a very high price for their inexcusable mistakes.