PBS, NPR Smear ‘Apocalyptic’ Conservative Media Criticism of Trump-Targeting DA Bragg

April 5th, 2023 3:15 PM

National Public Radio’s media reporter David Folkenflik, who has been on an anti-Fox News kick of late, went off on “right-wing media’s” “apocalyptic” coverage criticizing the legal case against Donald Trump and their attacks on Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who has brought charges against Trump involving payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels.

Earlier, Trump and his conservative defenders were baselessly accused on Friday’s PBS NewsHour of both racism (Bragg is black) and anti-Semitism (for accurately pointing out Bragg’s campaign for district attorney was funded by left-wing international billionaire George Soros).

Friday's NewsHour Trump-a-thon also featured a cameo from radical NYU historian and NewsHour favorite Ruth Ben-Ghiat, who made her usual calm and reasoned argument: "This [Republican argument] is a talking point of authoritarians to try and get the public to see the forces against them as discredited, partisan hacks and thus retain their reputation for being the ones who are going to drain the swamp, which was Mussolini's slogan initially…."

NPR host Scott Detrow set up Folkenflik on Sunday’s edition of All Things Considered

The soon-to-be-unsealed indictment by New York prosecutors has dominated cable news over the past few days. And as is the case with all things Trump and all things politics, really, the story has looked and sounded different depending on which network you watch. We're going to take a closer look at how conservative media has been covering the major story and what that tells us, and there is no better person to talk to about that than NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.

Folkenflik found the hushing up of an alleged affair by a president very troubling, and conservative media's reaction "apocalyptic."

FOLKENFLIK: Well, there's been a lot of outrage. There's been a lot of really not looking at the underlying facts of the case or the grappling with the fact that Trump clearly has engaged in all kinds of behavior, both in this instance and prior, that, at minimum, deserve legal scrutiny. You know, I got to say, to be fair to right-wing media, there's been a lot of speculation, but there's been a lot of speculation throughout the press because we really don't know very much about what's in the indictments yet at all.

But I think it's fair to say that it's gotten kind of apocalyptic. You know, you've seen people claim on Newsmax that there was a constitutional crisis. You've seen people on Fox News talk about this being somehow a third-world country by holding major former public officials - in this case, a former president - accountable. You've seen people comparing it to Stalinist Russia. You've seen this be called basically the triumph of politics over any sense of prosecutorial discretion. And so you've seen fairly extreme rhetoric in the absence of any facts to evaluate them by.

Left out of these agitated takedowns were any sense of historical context – such as when media outlets like NPR and PBS went “apocalyptic” and “extreme” in defense of Democratic president Bill Clinton when he was supposedly persecuted by special counsel Kenneth Starr for lying under oath about his own hushing up of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Go here for a taste of the way the press reacted to Starr’s attempt to follow the rule of law in pursuit of a president accused of sexual misconduct. It’s safe to say Alvin Bragg won’t be getting the Starr treatment.