A growing chorus of critics is questioning CNN’s repeated — and false — reports that President Donald Trump referred to neo-Nazis as “very fine people” in his remarks about the Charlottesville, Virginia, riots in 2017.
As Breitbart News has explained exhaustively, and as the transcript of the press conference proves beyond any doubt, President Trump was specifically excluding the neo-Nazis, whom he said should be “condemned totally.”
Trump was instead referring to non-violent demonstrators who protested the removal of a state of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — as well as to peaceful left-wing protesters opposing them (and opposing the neo-Nazis).
On Thursday, CNN contributor Steve Cortes — who tried to correct his network on the air, and was rebuffed by CNN anchor Erin Burnett — broke with CNN in an op-ed at RealClearPolitics, “Trump Didn’t Call Neo-Nazis ‘Fine People.’ Here’s Proof.” Cortez also called out other news outlets that have spread the “Charlottesville hoax.”
Brit Hume, senior political analyst for Fox News, then tweeted Cortes’s op-ed, adding the comment: “A CNN commentator calls out his own network, and other outlets, about what Trump actually said after Charlottesville.”
A CNN commentator calls out his own network, and other outlets, about what Trump actually said after Charlottesville. https://t.co/aQk2YSf97i
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 21, 2019
Others followed. Russell Roberts, a widely-respected economist (and Trump critic) who hosts the popular EconTalk podcast, retweeted Hume, noting that the Cortes op-ed had changed his mind: “I try to stay away from most things Trump but this story is crazy. Evidently I was misled as to what Trump said after Charlottesville. Truth is elusive.”
I try to stay away from most things Trump but this story is crazy. Evidently I was misled as to what Trump said after Charlottesville. Truth is elusive. https://t.co/1q5EJgtXAG
— Russell Roberts (@EconTalker) March 21, 2019
Others have also noted that the “very fine people” story is incorrect. Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and a Fox News contributor, criticized the media last Sunday on Fox News’ MediaBuzz last Sunday for continuing to mis-report Trump’s remark about the “very fine people.” She also tweeted Cortes’s article:
I have personally witnessed how difficult it is for smart, thoughtful people to accept what Trump actually said, instead of what they “remember” him saying, but it’s really important that we speak accurately here and criticize for real things, not fake. https://t.co/l7X5wbiLw0
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 21, 2019
CNN has yet to correct or retract its reporting.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.