In which PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor engages in a bit of activism presented as “journalism” so amusingly over the top that I really did laugh out loud while watching it. If she had *just* vouched for Waters’s good intentions or *just* accused Republicans of exploiting Waters’s comments for political gain, it would have been standard media partisan bias.
But to hit both notes in the same breath? And to frame it as a “question” during a live press briefing so that she could push her opinion out to millions of Americans watching at home?
That’s virtuoso hackery. Leave it to the Times or the Washington Post to slyly insinuate a political slant views into news copy. Alcindor’s showing you her cards right up front.
PBS' Yamiche Alcindor asks Psaki why "the White House isn't also coming to the defense of Rep. Waters given the fact that she is facing an onslaught of attacks… She was obviously not threatening violence." pic.twitter.com/AqC4L3tTqE
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 20, 2021
It wasn’t “obvious” that Waters wasn’t threatening violence. She egged people on to harass Trump cabinet members a few years ago and she made her point about protesters being “more confrontational” at a moment when the country is jittery about protests devolving into riots if Derek Chauvin is acquitted. Try to imagine Alcindor extending the same benefit of the doubt about good intentions to any random Republican House member chirping about being “confrontational” at a moment like that, while attending a rally with a crowd of righty demonstrators. She’s giving Waters a pass because she sympathizes with her politically, nothing more or less.
Even Psaki’s more reluctant to vouch for Waters than Alcindor is. And for good reason: Biden just got elected by running as a guy who’d calm the cultural waters that Trump had roiled. Insisting that it’s fine to call for “more confrontation” at a moment of high tension socially would make a joke of that campaign pledge.
Sleepy Joe prefers to roil the waters in less overtly violent ways, such as by hinting that Chauvin’s guilty while the jury is still deliberating.
Alcindor’s right at least that Republicans are looking to leverage Waters’s dopey comments. Why shouldn’t they? The politics of attacking Democrats as pro-riot and anti-police are excellent for them and Waters just made it easy:
Let's be clear: Maxine Waters knew her rhetoric would incite violence in Minneapolis—but she doesn't care, she just requests police escorts for herself.
I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric.
Where is the outrage from Dems & the media? They need to condemn this.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 19, 2021
McConnell got in on it too, knowing that this House dispute might have enough legs to help GOP Senate candidates in 2022:
Psaki was also asked this afternoon about her boss’s wildly irresponsible comments about the Chauvin trial earlier and offered the curious response that when he said he was praying for the “right” verdict he wasn’t weighing in on what verdict he wanted to see. Which, uh, is not true, as will be made clear this afternoon when he issues a statement after the verdict is read. Biden wants a conviction, whether on the merits or because it’ll make it much easier to keep the peace in America over the next few weeks. As others have noted, though, this makes twice in two days that Psaki has implied that Joe Biden didn’t mean something that he clearly meant. Who’s the president here?
Q: @JoeBiden has talked about the importance of an independent judiciary, why is it appropriate for him to weigh in on the Chauvin verdict?@PressSec: "I don't think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict…"
Reporter: "He did call for the 'right verdict,' though." pic.twitter.com/iyjJO8RRTJ
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 20, 2021