Comments and accusations were improperly growing that slammed President Trump as a racist and white supremacist. This never would have occurred if the media practiced responsible journalism – no different than police officers who are focused on reporting “Just the Facts.”
A news article and the public commentary that follows any storyline cannot ignore the facts. Journalists are not police officers, but journalists are expected to report the facts. Journalists cannot reshape the facts by accusing Trump of saying something he never said. Yet, that is what happened.
‘The Lie of Charlottesville’, presented by Steve Cortes, a CNN political commentator and columnist for Real Clear Politics, explains how a false narrative was sold to the public about Trump’s statements regarding the events that occurred in Charlottesville, VA.
The purpose of this article is to reinforce the expectation of society to require the facts are made known when the media reports a storyline either pro or con. This is no different than when the police hold a press conference to update the public based on the facts.
The major media outlets overlooked its responsibility to the public by ignoring Trump’s complete statement on August 15, 2017, regarding the neo-Nazi’s confrontation with Antifa which began on August 12, 2019, in Charlottesville. The failure of the media to report “Just the Facts,” created ‘The Lie of Charlottesville’.
This lie, in time, is the means the news media, people, and now Democrat candidates for President of The United States are using to label President Trump a racist and white supremacist without hesitation. Responsibility is required when reporting what did and did not happen. If the media or the police stray from reporting the facts, chaos follows.
It took two years, but the chaos has arrived. The only way to correct the false allegations against Trump is to revisit when the lie was first introduced to the public via social media. This can only be accomplished by a “Just the Facts” approach to understand what did happen at Charlottesville, before, during, and after two hate groups fought each other. Cortes took the time to find the facts.
Cortes, in his video presentation, stated, “It’s our job, as informed citizens, to figure out the truth. And that’s where journalists and the media come in. They are supposed to help us ferret out fact from fiction. So, when they get a fact wrong, that’s bad. When they get a fact wrong, know it’s wrong, and don’t correct it, that’s worse. That’s not getting a fact wrong; that’s a lie. And that’s journalistic malfeasance”. Notice that Cortes indicates the facts of what did happen have not been addressed.
On the weekend of August 12, 2017, The Charlottesville confrontation resulted in a young woman, Heather Heyer, being killed along with 19 individuals being injured by a neo-Nazi using his vehicle against the crowd as a weapon. Although Trump made a lengthy statement the media reported President Trump described neo-Nazis as “very fine people.” Cortes reports that Trump never said that.
Cortes stated, “he didn’t even hint at it”. Just the opposite: he condemned the neo-Nazis in no uncertain terms. Cortes then asks aloud, who were the “fine people” he mentioned? This is a great question focused on just the facts. What good people can be present in this chaos?
Cortes reports before the neo-Nazi and Antifa hate groups arrived at Charlottesville, another group of demonstrators arrived that weekend. Protestors were present who wanted the Robert E. Lee statue removed along with protestors who wanted to keep the statue and restore the park’s original name.
These groups were expressing their First Amendment rights as both sides conducted a peaceful protest. These groups of protestors were the “fine people.” These were two groups, with opposite opinions protesting each other in a non-confrontational manner.
This is what President Trump said about those peaceful protestors as he spoke with the media. “You also had some very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of – to them – a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”
Trump added, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists. They should be condemned totally.” These statements were known by all the major news outlets present at Trump’s news conference, yet based on the lie exposed by Steve Cortes, we now have presidential candidates, members of Congress, and media outlets labeling Trump as the white supremacist. He is not. The lie used was powerful until the truth became known.
Cortes emphasized the scandal of Charlottesville is not what President Trump said about neo-Nazis. It’s what the media said President Trump said about neo-Nazis. It’s a scandal because news reporting is supposed to be about gathering facts, not promoting an agenda. In Charlottesville, they got it exactly backwards. The fact Charlottesville was reported backwards brought the lie to full force in 2019.
President Trump is not associated with either the El Paso or Dayton shootings, yet the Democrats are involved in both shootings directly and indirectly. The El Paso shooter indicated he acted out due to the rhetoric stated by the Democrats during their first debate. Trump did not motivate this shooter to take the lives of anybody. The Dayton shooter has a disturbing past, is a registered Democrat, and supported Elizabeth Warren to be the next President of the United States.
President Trump’s response was to condemn the shootings, indicate that violence by any hate group is wrong and will be addressed. Trump met with the police, emergency responders, hospital staff, and wounded survivors in both El Paso and Dayton. It was reported by the media Trump was not welcomed to either city. Trump visited both communities, he was greeted and welcomed at both locations and visited recovering survivors at the hospital.
Cortes final comments had to do with the news media. He indicated the Lie of Charlottesville is due to ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the others spreading a lie to the public.
This lie has turned Trump into a talking point regarding his racial overtones even though none exist. The Lie of Charlottesville is becoming known; the false allegations of racism initiated against Trump are now falling on deaf ears, no different than the failed Mueller Investigation.
If you record and document the facts, the truth will offset manufactured lies. I appreciate Steve Cortes for addressing the lie being sold as the truth.
In closing, the Charlottesville Lie does not have to do with what President Trump said. It solely is a false narrative the media used against President Trump. This lie provided false justification for Joe Biden to run for President of the United States. In time, The Lie of Charlottesville is the first of many lies Joe Biden utilized to justify his candidacy for President of the United States and Biden’s lying is ongoing and continuing as the President of the United States.
Lt. Jim Gaffney, MPA retired in March 2018, from law enforcement in December 2021 and from Berkeley College (Metro-New York area). Jim’s various capacities, culminated as an administrator in the role of Acting Chief of Police, Executive Officer, Public Information Officer, Accreditation Officer, Incident Commander, and the head of the Support Services Division. He is a member of ILEETA, IACP, FBI-LEEDA, and a Certified Force Science Analyst.