Earlier in week, Molly Ball who writes for The Atlantic, received a copy of the Republican talking points following President Trump's news conference about Charlottesville. She explained:
Every day, the White House communications office sends official talking points to Republican members of Congress. These communiqués help the GOP stay on the same page (and, in the Trump era, help the embattled president’s allies come up with arguments in his defense).
On Tuesday evening, a few hours after the president’s inflammatory press conference defending white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, the office issued an “evening communications briefing,” which was passed along to me by a Republican congressional aide. It encourages members to echo the president’s line, contending that “both sides . . . acted inappropriately, and bear some responsibility.”
If you read this morning's Mike Myers' column, "Admitting Truth Cuts Both Ways," it would appear that Myer got the memo.
Myer begins by suggesting that both the right and left are blinded by their partisanship:
One faction of Americans, tens of millions strong, regards any report even slightly negative toward President Donald Trump as “fake news.”
But another, also tens of millions in size, sees any report that may suggest Trump is right in any way as “fake news.”
Any conservative who makes a valid point is automatically labeled a liar by one group of people. Likewise, any liberal saying something sensible is regarded by the other side as not capable of being truthful.
Meanwhile, those of us in the middle — and I think that still includes the vast majority of Americans — wonder what kind of Kool-Aid both the ultra-leftists and the ultra-rightists are drinking.
Mike Myer is in the middle? He's a moderate? Who knew? Obviously no one who has ever read even a single Myer column. All these years he's been spewing his conservative if not reactionary commentary and now he claims to be "in the middle." But as laughable as that is, Myer had to write that in order to appear neutral. From there he can make the White House's talking point that the “both sides . . . acted inappropriately, and bear some responsibility.” Here's Myer:
So here we have two opposing groups of thugs, each of which has defenders who would never think of engaging in violence themselves.
Apparently, not every Republican leader received the talking points. Yesterday Mitt Romney, the Republican's presidential candidate in 2012, forcefully stated what President Trump needed to do:
(T)he president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis--who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat--and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.
I guess Myer would consider Romney (and for that matter, many other mainstream Republicans) another one of those "ultra-leftists."
Two quick additonal points:
We in the press need to clean up our act — though, I have to tell you, we at this newspaper work very, very hard to be objective and accurate. When we make mistakes, as we do, we try to admit and correct them.
Yes, that's what I immediately think of when I think of a Wheeling paper: objective and accurate. And in 3 and 1/2 years of closely reading these newspapers, I have seen a number of uncorrected errors (here, for example) and only one correction of a news article. (Heather Ziegler misidentifying a church official.)
- 2. As long-term readers of Myer and this blog know, Myer loves to use the word "vendetta." (See here for examples.) In the past, he frequently applied the word to Obama's dealing with West Virginia. Now he's applying it to the media:
But understanding some in the press are engaged in a vendetta against Trump doesn’t mean all reports reflecting negatively on him are false.
It probably won't happen but Myer needs to look up the definition of "vendetta."
Update -- August 20
The Sunday News-Register opinion section continues Myer's false equivalency argument with two different political cartoons. In the first, a child sits in the corner with a dunce's cap. On the blackboard in front of him are the words "both sides caused Virginia car killing." On the other side of the cartoon is former president Obama with a dunce's cap and the words "both sides caused cop killings." In the second, we see a cartoon of a group of KKK members with the caption "Hooded thugs who employ violence and intimidation to advance their sordid beliefs." Next to it is a group of Intifada members with the caption "ditto." Of course, the first cartoon doesn't explain how the events are in any way related while the second equates Antifa with the KKK. Earlier in the week, a New York Times fact check examined the similarities and differences between the two groups:
But there is one stark difference between the violence on the two sides: The police said that James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio drove his car into a crowd and killed at least one person, Heather Heyer. Mr. Fields was charged with second-degree murder.
Comparing Antifa to Mr. Fields’s act is like “comparing a propeller plane to a C-130 transport,” said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
“Using the fact that some counterprotesters were, in fact, violent, creates a structural and moral false equivalency that is seriously undermining the legitimacy of this president,” Professor Levin said.