If you are reading headlines in a newspaper, listening to a commentator on TV or the radio, or just glancing at the headlines of Internet stories, and you wonder how in the world could President Trump or some other conservative political figure have said such a crazy thing, you might take it all with a grain — or perhaps a whole truckload — of salt. The fact is, it is probably a grossly distorted quotation, all designed to make a non-liberal person look bad.
Take the latest hit job, this time on Representative Steve King (R-Iowa). Speaking to the Westside Conservative Club at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa, on Wednesday, King a strong pro-lifer, was responding to a question about his position of opposing abortion in cases of rape or incest.
“It’s not the baby’s fault for the sin of the father, or of the mother,” King explained.
To support his argument that abortion should not be allowed in cases of rape, King asked those in the meeting to consider the consequences if every child ever conceived in rape or incest had been aborted instead of born. “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?”
He added, “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages [that have] taken place and whatever happened to culture [and] society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product like that.”
Of course, the headlines on Internet sites today concentrated not on the context of his remarks — that a baby should not be aborted simply because he or she was conceived as a result of rape or incest — but rather chose to highlight his remarks about rape and incest, which sound rather odd if one does not put them into the context of the abortion debate. Odd not because the remarks were untrue (because they are almost certainly true, sadly), but why would a politician even be making such remarks?
Once one reads the articles covering King’s comments it should become clear that King was not saying rape and incest was no big deal, but rather was arguing for the sanctity of the life of the unborn. But many readers just glance at the headlines, then move onto something else.
Back in January, King was criticized for a quotation by the New York Times that made it appear that he was asking why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive. Actually, King was objecting to the association of white nationalism and white supremacism with the term “Western civilization,” and was asking how the term “Western civilization” had “become offensive.”
King has said that he does not support the “odious ideology” of white supremacy, but that he stands by his support of the West, calling the United States “the flagship for Western civilization.”
This type of distortion by the media has been around for decades — the late Senator Joseph McCarthy’s words were often distorted by the liberal media of his day — but with the rise of cable news and the Internet, it has become ubiquitous.
Just this week, ICE Director Ken Cuccinelli’s defense of denying welfare benefits to green card holders was distorted into his saying that the famous poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty was only referring to white immigrants from Europe. Cuccinelli never said the words “white immigrants,” but that is how it was reported in most of the media.
Cuccinelli said that the poem’s words, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” were a reference to the millions of immigrants from Europe who were escaping from class-oriented societies with little liberty, noting that they were not coming to become a “public charge.”
Of course, the immigrants who entered America in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty were almost all from Europe (Asian immigrants came to the West coast), and there were no federal welfare benefits at the time for them to obtain. Thus, Cuccinelli was simply stating an historical fact to support his position that welfare benefits should not be a lure for foreigners to come to America. But for the media, it was yet another opportunity to advance their narrative that anyone to their right was a racist.
We saw this tactic used early in President Donald Trump’s tenure, with the Charlottesville episode. At the time, Trump was falsely accused of having said that some of the neo-Nazis and KKK members involved in the violence there were “good people.” Actually, Trump said, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”
Despite the unfairness of these almost daily distortions of comments perpetrated by both politicians and so-called journalists on the Left, we can expect such unfair tactics to continue. All we can do is call attention to such “fake news,” and not allow ourselves to be deceived by these falsehoods.
Photo: AP Images