SURPRISE: Sunday Shows Push The Bloodbath Hoax

March 17th, 2024 7:07 PM

By “surprise”, of course I mean none whatsoever. Once again, the media have taken a quote from former President Donald Trump, stripped it of context, and forwarded a false narrative. In this case, the media took Trump’s threat of 100% tariffs against Chinese electric cars manufactured in Mexico, and falsely turned it into a threat of political violence unless he is elected. Ergo, The Bloodbath Hoax.

What Trump said was actually quite clear, as he discussed the potential economic calamity to the domestic automotive industry from unfettered Chinese electric cars manufactured in Mexico: 

But the Biden campaign and the media combined to push just the 9 seconds where Trump says, “now, If I don’t get elected, that's going to be the least of it. It'll be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it.” Team Biden pushed it to the media, and the media ran with it throughout Saturday night. 

Enter the Sunday Shows. Each show, in their own way, promoted and forwarded the Sunday Hoax. The most egregious example was on ABC This Week. Watch as Susan Glasser of The New Yorker promotes The Bloodbath Hoax, gets shut down by former Department of Justice spokesperson Sarah Isgur, only to continue to press ahead (click “expand” to view transcript):

SUSAN GLASSER: Donald Trump, it seems to me, it's very hard eight years into this. We still struggle with how to cover him as journalists, but in a way, the unhinged, rambling rants that you see from the former President of the United States are baked in. And I think in a way, we are all desensitized and inured to the extraordinary, remarkable, and very at times, un-American, and threatening things that the former president is saying. I'm not saying it's easy to understand how to cover it, but I think we have to cover it when the former president, who's already incited violence among his followers, says that there's going to be a bloodbath. After the election if he does not win. He is telling us what he is going to do. 

SARA ISGUR: Let me just disagree a little. ‘Cause I'm having super 2016 deja vu over the bloodbath news cycle. This is what Donald Trump does. We’re sitting here talking about a word he used that four days ago, we were all using to talk about what happened at the RNC, that’s in headlines about the markets on Wall Street. And now we're not talking about his 100% tariff policy, which is bonkers. We're talking about whether he used the word “bloodbath” to mean this or that, whether he means violence. We all know what it can be used…

MARTHA RADDATZ: So what do you do, ignore it?

RICK KLEIN: No. I think very much not. And, look. I think- I think the idea that one comment is going to change the minds of Trump voters, I think we've seen that before, and to Sarah's point, we've long passed that news cycle. But the policies need to be focused on as well, and that's what the campaign is going to be, and continues to be about. 

GLASSER: I’m sorry. I just have to say something, like, Donald Trump is attacking in a broad brush sense, the basic pillars of American democracy, period, full stop. If that's not news to you, it's not about tariffs. That's not the reason why millions of Americans are supporting Donald Trump. Let’s be real about that.

In Glasser’s view, and despite being reminded about the context by Isgur, it was a broad attack on American democracy. In other words, “bloodbath” is being narratively stretched out and reshaped into another January 6th. The record reflects that moderator Martha Raddatz did nothing to encourage clarification of any kind.

Over on CBS’s Face The Nation former Vice President Mike Pence, who was there to not endorse Trump, imploded Margaret Brennan’s attempt to push The Bloodbath Hoax. Also, Brennan made weird, confused dog-like faces again while trying to pretend to not understand Trump’s proposed tariff policy:

On CNN’s State of the Union, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned The Bloodbath Hoax within a broader rant about Trump and intelligence briefings, with no pushback or fact-checking from host Dana Bash:

Over on NBC’s Meet The Depressed, Kristen Welker asks, if “...that comment, even in the context of talking about the auto industry, does it cross a line for you? You heard what the Biden administration said, they say it’s another sign that he’s using terms related to political violence?” 

Welker knew that the proper context of “bloodbath” was about the automobile industry, but she wanted to push “the Biden administration’s” talking point.

It was excruciating to watch Brennan and Welker both pretend to not know that Trump was indeed talking about a potential economic calamity to come from a potential BYD plant in Mexico. It takes several significant suspensions of disbelief to accept the idea that people who ply their trade in words and are among the elite in their industry are suddenly unable to comprehend plain English as spoken by Donald J. Trump. There is no other explanation for The Bloodbath Hoax except shameless dishonesty from a media that, as Isgur observed on This Week, has learned nothing from 2016.

It may well be that Ana Marie Cox of The New Republic was the most forthright when discussing The Bloodbath Hoax on MSNBC. Who cares about stuff like context and factual accuracy, when ill motive can be imputed to Trump's supporters (and therefore to Trump himself)?