New York Times writer Wajahat Ali appeared on CNN Friday and used the New Zealand terror attacks, in which at least 49 people were murdered, in an attempt to smear Breitbart News as “anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim.”
CNN’s on-air personnel — including CNN national security correspondent Jim Sciutto — made no effort to correct Ali or even to ask him for evidence to substantiate his claims.
“It came late,” Ali said of President Trump’s tweet offering condolences for the shooting. “Because last night, when this was happening, you know what he tweeted out? He tweeted out a Breitbart article.
“And Breitbart is a site for promoting and mainstreaming much of this anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim sentiment in the past few years,” Ali continued.
Ali’s statement was inaccurate. President Trump did not tweet an article from Breitbart News Thursday; he tweeted a link to the Breitbart front page. At the time, the lead story on the site was a writeup of a radio interview with former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik; initial coverage of the Christchurch shooting was still being edited. Trump later deleted the tweet, likely because it was a mistake.
This is false @MajorCBS and @djusatoday – the president’s tweet last night was just a link to the @BreitbartNews homepage https://t.co/WBvqRnUIoQ
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) March 15, 2019
USA Today was shamed into correcting its own false report Friday that Trump had tweeted a link to a Breitbart article.
The false report about the Trump tweet followed another Breitbart-related media meltdown prior to the New Zealand attacks.
During a White House interview with Breitbart News this week, President Trump talked about left-wing political violence, and said: “It’s so terrible what’s happening. You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?”
He continued: “I can tell you, I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher.”
Many in the establishment media ran with the claim that Trump was threatening violence.
This is…a threat of fascist violence by the President ?https://t.co/JQ1Yq3L9Nt
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 14, 2019
That claim later provided context for the false claim that Trump had tweeted the interview after the New Zealand shootings.