Monday David French wrote a piece about the possible outcome of a nuclear strike on an American city. This was prompted by the false alarm that recently happened in Hawaii. Here’s a sample of what French wrote:
The bottom line, even if a nuclear weapon as big as the largest North Korea has ever tested were to impact squarely on Manhattan, the vast majority of New Yorkers would survive the initial blast. A strike would devastate central Honolulu but leave many suburbs intact. If the missile misses a city center even by a small amount, the number of initial casualties plunges dramatically.
Notice that French isn’t saying a nuclear strike would be a picnic. He’s simply saying that many people would survive even a worst-case scenario, i.e. a nuke hitting an American city. But Newsweek turned that into this headline, “NUCLEAR WAR? IT WON’T GET YOU IN THE SUBURBS, CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE TELLS READERS.” The article itself then makes this point which never appeared or was hinted at in French’s writing:
During the 2016 election, Trump won 50 percent of the vote in suburban America and 62 percent of the vote in small cities and rural areas compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45 and 34 percent performance in the regions.
Conservatives tend to prefer small towns and rural areas, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, with 46 percent of liberals preferring city life compared to just 4 percent of conservatives who said the same.
In other words, Newsweek is intimating that French was making a partisan claim that survivors would be disproportionately Trump voters, something David French never said or hinted at saying. But someone at Raw Story thought this story was golden and re-posted it there. Enter fabulist Joy Reid who took this misleading junk to a new level by suggesting French was making a racial claim as well as well as a partisan one:
And the magazine in question is the once-august National Review. We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, "don't worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities." Shame on you, @DavidAFrench https://t.co/YARwfhRNRE
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 17, 2018
This is like a game of telephone where everyone involved is a progressive and an idiot. First of all, the bit that Joy Reid puts in quotes is not taken from David French’s story or even from the Newsweek story. She just made that up. Shouldn’t someone who does this for a living have some idea of how quotes work? Just as importantly, David French never said anything that could even be fairly summarized in this way. It’s not there, leading me to wonder if Joy Reid read French’s story before trying to shame him and National Review for something he didn’t say. French himself responded, pointing out how absurd Reid’s tweet was:
In the annals of misleading and ridiculous tweets, this takes the cake:
1. I did not argue in favor of risking nuclear war.
2. I never said anything like the words in those quotes.
3. I wrote only in favor of prepping for bad events.
Other than that, the tweet’s great. https://t.co/oWpXdnjOpD
— David French (@DavidAFrench) January 17, 2018
The attack on French was so far off base that even people who aren’t conservatives are objecting:
This is not what @DavidAFrench's says – this is a totally unfair characterization of his column. And frankly I'm not surprised your framing has come from Newsweek which is an embarrassment.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 17, 2018
I read you both regularly, and often disagree (and agree) with you both regularly. And I'm a progressive. But this take is completely unfair. You have to put on thick partisan glasses to read this as a shot at Dems and minorities. It's not.
— Jamal Alsaffar (@Txtriallawyer) January 17, 2018
I love you Joy, but this isn't right. I just read the entire article and it is not what I or most of us took away from it. Just delete it and DM @DavidAFrench an apology.
— Sarah (@RealSarah103) January 17, 2018
Love you Joy, but that’s really not what the article says or implies. There’s a Newsweek article picking the story up that’s so sloppily written that it might be construed to be so though. I hate to say it but you seem to have made a bad call on this one.
— Martien de Graaf (@mar10dg) January 18, 2018
Of course, there are still plenty of prominent progressives who aren’t saying anything:
Does anyone around Joy Reid have the courage to say to her, "that was dishonest, and you shouldn't have done that"? Not a single person?
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) January 18, 2018
I think this tweet sums up my take:
America, it's time people on the Left and Right of good faith and intellect got together and talked about our collective Joy Reid problem. https://t.co/lTgQmZzDI9
— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) January 17, 2018
Yes, that’s it. Joy Reid says dumb things about people on both sides of the aisle. At some point, this ought to catch up with her. Unless she offers David French a clear and fulsome apology, maybe now is that moment.
Update: Well, Joy Reid’s moment has come, and I’ll let you decide for yourselves how fulsome an apology she issues to David French. From overnight into Thursday:
Taking back my take on this take – the @rawstory writeup doesn’t reflect @
DavidAFrench‘s intent and I think @ Aunty__Em would probably agree. David and I disagree on almost everything, but my take on this was off track.
—-Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 18, 2018
I give Joy credit for at least reading the serious blowback she got online from friend and foe alike over her now-deleted smear against David, something she apparently didn’t do when offering the offending tweet in the first place. She channeled her inner Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella from Saturday Night Live who when countered with overwhelming evidence her take was all wrong she simply said the equivalent of “never mind.”
I’m not here to tell her how to apologize to David, but I would think she would at least offer up a Maxwell Smart on him and say something like “Sorry about that, Chief.” Wouldn’t you? — Duane Patterson