On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted about NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and the recent federal “hate crime” investigation into a rope in his garage that some thought was a noose.
It turned out to be a pull-down rope that had likely been like that since last fall, meaning there was no way anyone could have known it would end up in the garage of the racing series’ only full-time black driver — and leading many, including Trump, to call it a hoax.
“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?” Trump said.
“That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”
Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
Wallace had successfully requested NASCAR ban the Confederate flag from being displayed on race grounds.
There are several issues with this interpretation, which isn’t unpopular. Chief among them was that Wallace hadn’t reported or even seen the rope; according to Fox News, one of NASCAR’s employees was actually responsible for noticing it. Meanwhile, NASCAR ratings have not only been up since the sport came back from a break imposed by the current health crisis, they’ve also been up since the Confederate flag ban.
Given that there was a White House news conference on Monday, maybe it was worth asking a question or two about Trump’s tweet, considering that allies of the president have broken with him over it (Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina being the most prominent) and the controversy any mention of the Confederate flag creates.
A dozen or so questions about the tweet aimed at press secretary Kayleigh McEnany? Probably not — especially considering what happened over the weekend in other parts of America over the Fourth of July weekend.
“I’d end with this, I was asked probably 12 questions about the Confederate flag, this president is focused on action, and I’m a little dismayed that I didn’t receive one question on the deaths that we got in this country this weekend,” McEnany said.
“I didn’t receive one question about New York City shootings doubling for the third straight week … not one question. I didn’t receive one question about five children who were killed,” she continued.
“I’ll leave you with this remark by a dad — it broke my heart — a dad of an 8-year-old lost in Atlanta this weekend: ‘They say black lives matter. You killed a child, she didn’t do nothing to nobody.’
“We need to be focused on securing our streets, making sure no lives are lost, because all black lives matter, that of [retired St. Louis police captain] David Dorn and that of this 8-year-old girl. Thank you,” she said in closing.
Dorn was murdered when he responded to a pawn shop robbery during violent protests in the city. The 8-year-old, meanwhile, was Secoriea Turner. According to reports, Turner was killed in Atlanta after her family’s car was stopped by a group of armed individuals near where Rayshard Brooks was shot by police on June 12.
“At some point, someone in that group opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times and striking the child who was inside. The driver then drove to Atlanta Medical Center for help,” police said in a statement, according to WSB-TV.
Violence in Atlanta, originally touched off by the Brooks shooting, has gotten bad enough that GOP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Monday, calling up the National Guard.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
“The reality is this: These aren’t police officers shooting people on the streets of Atlanta, these are members of the community shooting each other,” Democratic Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during a news conference Sunday.
“An 8-year-old baby!” Bottoms said. “If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement, then we can’t lose each other in this, … It’s got to stop. It has to stop.”
In New York City, meanwhile, what The Times described as a “surge in shootings” left 64 people shot and 10 dead over the weekend, according to an article published Monday.
One of those fatally shot was a father who was crossing the street with his 6-year-old daughter.
“This is something that we have to double down on,” Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a media conference Monday. He blamed the spike in shootings on “dislocation that has happened over these last four months with the coronavirus.”
“The fact that the court system is not working, the economy is not working, people have been penned up for months and months, so many issues underlying this challenge,” de Blasio said.
Unmentioned was a plainclothes anti-crime unit disbanded by de Blasio’s police commissioner in June at the height of the protests.
Also unmentioned was de Blasio’s plan to shift $1 billion from the New York City Police Department budget. Defunding the police must continue apace no matter what, after all.
But no — let’s talk about a hot-button tweet. (As for what McEnany had to say about that: “The president’s merely pointing out that we’ve got to let facts come out before we jump to judgment,” she told Fox News on Monday.) The tweet is the important thing going on in America this week.
These are the priorities of the national news media.
Any questions about an uptick in violence in Democrat-run cities isn’t going to be on the agenda.
A social media post that involves the Confederate flag and plays into a prepackaged narrative about race and semiotics in America they’ve been pushing for a while? Well, hot diggity — that’s what’s going to be a thing today.
In doing this, they’ve pushed this violence to the back burner.
Rest assured, were Joe Biden president, they’d be using this to press hard for gun control. Now it plays into a Trump administration point about what happens when you defund the police, so they’re mostly quiet.
If you needed more proof that America’s media is ethically adrift and determined to press a narrative, McEnany’s mic drop certainly provided it.
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