Remember the media-stoked controversy over Donald Trump declaring that he was a “nationalist”? Sample headline in USA Today: “‘I am a nationalist’: Trump’s embrace of controversial label sparks uproar.” That uproar might seem hard to recall now, because it was all the way back on … October 23.
It was the day before the October 24 uproar about the steroid-crazed male stripper who sent unexploded—and apparently unexplodable—bombs to various Democratic offices. And it was also before the horrendous tragedy in Pittsburgh on October 27, when an anti-Semitic psycho shot and killed 11 worshipers at a synagogue.
It might seem challenging to put a larger political spin on the lonely acts of kooks and evildoers, but the establishment media is up to the challenge—especially if it involves dinging Donald Trump. Indeed, the media’s latest storyline is that Trump’s “violent rhetoric” is to blame. Here, for example, is a headline from The Guardian: “Donald Trump’s rhetoric has stoked antisemitism and hatred, experts warn.” (You know that the media really means to make a point when they cite “experts.”)
In the face of such a determined media onslaught, the thoughtful words of the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, went almost unheard. Speaking on the scene of the Pittsburgh massacre, Dermer told CNN, “I have never seen a stronger statement” than the one that President Trump issued in the wake of the shooting. This only makes sense: After all, Trump’s daughter Ivanka is Jewish, along with his son-in-law, and three of this grandchildren. But since he was so “off message,” you can bet that CNN won’t be inviting him back anytime soon.
Still, even if the “nationalism” controversy is two controversies ago, it’s not going to go away. It’ll linger as a media talking point, and, who knows, perhaps it will become one more article of impeachment next year if the Democrats win back the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6.
So it’s worth pausing over this word, “nationalism,” to see why it puts the left in such a tizzy.
We can start with CNN’s tremendously Trump-hating “reporter,” Jim Acosta, who declared on October 23 that the President was using “nationalism” as a way of “dog whistling” to “white nationalists.” And that night, Acosta’s CNN colleague, Don Lemon, was quick to agree; as he said, the word is “loaded with nativist and racial undertones.”
Interestingly, that same day, October 23, NBC’s Peter Alexander used almost the exact same language as Lemon; Alexander accused Trump of using a word redolent with “undertones that are not just racial but xenophobic.” (You know, the similarity in their words is almost enough to make Virgil think that Lemon and Alexander were reading from the same talking points!)