Fact Check?? PBS Calmly Lets Swalwell Compare Trump to Osama bin Laden

January 13th, 2021 2:00 PM

Henry Rodgers at the Daily Caller noted that during Wednesday's live PBS coverage of the impeachment debate in the House, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D.-California) recklessly compared President Trump to terrorist Osama bin Laden, the architect of the mass murder of Americans on September 11, 2001. 

Swalwell insisted Trump has to be impeached because "this president incited, radicalized, and essentially commanded his supporters to storm the Capitol last week," and “he will do this again.” Woodruff presented the Trump camp's defense, which drew the Osama slime.



JUDY WOODRUFF: Another argument the Republicans are making is that yes, the people who stormed the Capitol, they should be held accountable, but President Trump himself wasn’t part of the mob. They keep citing the word he, one of the words he used in his speech to the crowd last Wednesday. They said he used the word “peaceful,” he wanted them to be peaceful, among many other words he spoke. But they’re saying holding him accountable is different from the people who directly were involved in tearing down the doors, and rampaging the Capitol building. 

ERIC SWALWELL: Well, Osama Bin Laden did not enter U.S. soil on September 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country, and the president, with his words, using the word fight, with the speakers that he assembled that day who who called for “trial by combat” [Rudy Giuliani] and said he have to take names and kick ass [Rep. Mo Brooks]. That is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol.

Woodruff then only gently questioned "Are you comparing President Trump to Osama bin Laden?" As if that wasn't obvious? 

Swalwell replied “I’m comparing the words of a individual who would incite and radicalize somebody as Osama Bin Laden did to what President Trump did. You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself but if you call others to violence that itself is a crime."

There's no Fact Checkers crying foul. Woodruff in no way suggested he'd crossed a line. She just continued: "And what do you think should be done to this president? You think he should be removed from office. Do you think he should be prosecuted?" Swalwell only said “I’ll leave that to prosecutors."

This is the same Judy Woodruff who complained to Trump aide Mark Meadows during the 2020 Republican convention that it was an unfair exaggeration to call Joe Biden a socialist. (She also dismissed riots: "There has been violence, but we know there have also been a lot of peaceful protests as well.")

This hateful rhetoric is quite a match for what PBS insisted yesterday, after firing counsel Michael Beller for getting caught joking about 're-education camps" for Trump supporters and throwing Molotov cocktails at the White House. “There is no place for hateful rhetoric at PBS, and this individual’s views in no way reflect our values or opinions,” PBS said in a statement. “We strongly condemn violence and will continue to do what we have done for 50 years — use our national platform and local presence to strengthen communities and bring people together.”