Video: Chris Wallace of Fox News attacks President Trump for attacking the media
WASHINGTON – They call it Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Those who claim to have diagnosed the syndrome say it is rapidly spreading, and, judging by its reported symptoms, recent evidence indicates it may have spread even to Fox News, after talk-radio star Rush Limbaugh called out one of the network’s stars for twisting the president’s words.
The complaints about the president from the left appear to be growing increasingly fantastic. In just the last week, the New Republic has run articles speculating the president may have a more than 30-year-old case of untreated syphilis, and that he has “turned the GOP into the party of eugenics.”
Dr. Steven Beutler wrote in the New Republic on Friday that “Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior” could not be diagnosed “from a distance,” but then he goes on to diagnose the president from a distance as possibly suffering from untreated syphilis, perhaps contracted in the 1980s.
He claimed Trump has shown such symptoms of the potentially deadly disease as irritability, loss of ability to concentrate, delusional thinking, grandiosity, squinting, insomnia and impaired memory, insight and judgment.
Beutler warned, “The importance – both to Trump and the nation – of establishing or ruling out this diagnosis cannot be overstated.”
The New Republic’s social media editor, Sarah Jones, wrote a piece on Wednesday that detected a GOP zeal for eugenics, the technique of selective breeding and elimination of supposed undesirables practiced with horrifying ruthlessness by the genocidal Nazis.
That’s because, she wrote, “the Trump administration’s overt obsession with white supremacy – which the 2016 election showed to be the ugly beating heart of the conservative movement – has imbued the platform of the Republican Party with a lurid tinge, changing our understanding of its disdain not only for minorities, but for the weak, the poor, and the disabled.”
She provided no examples of “the Trump administration’s overt obsession with white supremacy,” but merely stated it as a given.
Jones argued, “[T]hey cut welfare for the same reason eugenicists once sterilized the poor: Poor people drain resources better spent elsewhere.”
And, she concluded, “[T]he most powerful people in America appear to enthusiastically embrace the idea that humans can be divided into inherently superior and inferior specimens and treated accordingly.”
Jones warned, “This won’t change as long as we inhabit a world ruled by men who prioritize the free market over human lives. Their ideal society excludes us and every other group ever deemed an obstacle to prosperity. And when they come for us they will call it progress.”
For those who find those assessments hyperbolic, there may be an explanation.
Author Justin Raimondo succinctly described what he saw as the symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS, in an Dec. 27, commentary piece in the Los Angeles Times:
- Victims lose all sense of proportion.
- The president-elect’s every tweet provoked a firestorm.
- Sufferers speak a distinctive language consisting solely of hyperbole.
- A state of constant hysteria.
- The afflicted lose the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.
- Opinion is unmoored from fact.
Explained Raimondo, “Life resembles a dark fairy tale in which the villain – Trump – is an amalgam of all the worst tyrants in history, past and present, while the heroes –Trump’s critics – are akin to the resistance fighters of World War II.”
Limbaugh saw it coming just one week after Trump was elected in November. The talk-show host said on Nov. 16, “Trump Derangement Syndrome has already reached escape velocity, and the guy hasn’t even been sworn in.”
Limbaugh cited the mainstream media’s outrage that Trump had ditched the media pool for an evening to have an undisturbed dinner in a restaurant. He then contrasted that with the New York Times’ sympathy for then-President-elect Obama when he ditched his press pool in December 2008 to take his children to a water park because he was a “very private public man chaf[ing] under its constraints.”
And, on Monday, Limbaugh took a Fox News star to task for skewing the facts on the president’s criticism of the media and its reporting on his administration.
(A caller had misidentified the person quoted as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, although Limbaugh was clearly referencing Fox’s Chris Wallace, who made the remarks that follow.)
On his Sunday show, Wallace heatedly denounced Trump for attacking the media during an interview with the president’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
Wallace began by accurately reading a tweet Trump sent on Friday that read: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
But Wallace then immediately asked Priebus, “Reince, the president believes that a free and independent press is a threat to the country?”
The clear implication was that Trump had called the entire media the enemy of the people rather than the specific outlets he had actually named in the tweet.
That was evidenced when Wallace later said, “Here’s the problem. When the president says we’re the enemy of the American people, it makes it sounds like if you are going against him, you are going against the country.” Wallace later added, “[T]hat’s what’s concerning because it seems like he crosses a line when he talks about (sic) that we’re an enemy of the people.”
However, Limbaugh pointed out on his Monday radio show: “‘The press is the enemy of the people,’ is not what he said. … He was talking about a subset of the media. If Trump had been talking about the whole media as the enemy of the state, that’s not what the Trump quote said.”
Limbaugh continued: “He specifically was referring to the outlets putting out misleading themes about election hacking. You can’t take these comments out of context! You have to look at what he said before he said this. So when he calls ‘the press enemy of the people,’ what was he talking about before it? He was talking about those elements of the media that continue to report things that aren’t true, and that is there is no evidence that the Russians hacked the outcome of the election.”
Talk-show host and Fox News star Sean Hannity also accused the press of putting words in the president’s mouth in creating another new firestorm, this one over Trump’s recent remarks on Sweden.
On his website, Hannity noted, “This weekend the media was awash with stories suggesting that President Donald Trump claimed that a terrorist attack had recently occurred in Sweden during his speech at Saturday’s rally in Melbourne, Florida.”
A sample of those headlines:
- Guardian: “Trump cites non-existent Sweden terror attack”
- AP: “Trump said a major incident happened in Sweden. Swedes don’t know what he’s talking about”
- USA Today: “President Trump – ridiculed over the weekend for apparently denouncing a terrorist attack in Sweden that had never happened”
But Trump never mentioned an attack. He said:
“Here’s the bottom line. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We’ve allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country, and there was no way to vet these people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing. So we’re going to keep our country safe.”
Trump later clarified in a tweet on Sunday: “My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.”
He also tweeted: “Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”
Why are the mainstream media so quick to pounce on Trump in ways that appear to comport with Raimondo’s description of TDS?
Limbaugh theorized on Monday that Trump’s critics in the media “are so far gone” that they believe “attacking them and challenging their reputation is no more and no less than attacking the Constitution and trying to destroy America and democracy.”
He continued: “Criticizing them is attacking the First Amendment. They really believe this. Criticizing them is akin to attacking the Constitution, and that’s un-American, and that’s why you hear these journalists say, ‘It’s un-American to criticize. It’s un-American for Trump to be destabilizing. It’s un-American for Trump to be going out there and trying to do damage to the media. We’ve got First Amendment protection.'”
The talk-show star suggested the hyperbolic reaction to Trump’s attack on what the president called “fake news” masked the mainstream media’s real motive: “You won’t even get them to admit what they’re doing. You won’t even get them to admit they’re trying to destroy Trump.”
Raimondo had an even darker take on that motive, in his piece back in December.
He ominously wondered: “If he (Trump) is another Hitler, if he’s in league with Putin, then why is assassination out of the question? Poke a TDS victim and you’ll find they don’t think that ‘solution’ is out of the question at all.”
Raimondo concluded by warning: “This is the final stage of the TDS epidemic: violence against a democratically elected leader. Unless a cure for TDS is found, this is where we are headed.”