Liberal Columnist Calls for ‘Feeding Frenzy’ on Flynn

Jonathan Alter demands reporters stake out Trump's pick for national security adviser's house

by Brendan Kirby | Updated 06 Dec 2016 at 9:12 AM

The Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter on Monday called for a “feeding frenzy” directed at President-Elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser.

Alter expressed outrage on MSNBC’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” over retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s conduct on Twitter, including a November tweet from a website called True Pundit that spun a dubious conspiracy theory involving Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, money laundering, and sex crimes with children. A man believing this conspiracy theory recently opened fire in a local Washington, D.C., pizza place.

“What we need now is a feeding frenzy on this story.”

Never mind that, according to The Washington Post, the True Pundit tweet did not mention the pizza shop , either explicitly or implicitly.

“What we need now is a feeding frenzy on this story.”

Flynn, Alter said, “disqualified himself” from becoming national security adviser. But the position does not require Senate confirmation, so the only people who can stop it are Flynn, himself, and Trump.

"The question that all the rest of us face in the press and in the Congress is, what are we going to do about it beyond wringing our hands?" Alter said.

He said the public should not think it is powerless. He said ordinary citizens should put pressure on Flynn not to take the job and urged reporters to stalk Flynn outside of his home.

"We've forgotten the concept of public pressure," he said. "My question is, where is the stakeout of General Flynn's house? Since the 1920s, the press in Washington, when somebody had serious questions to answer as General Flynn does tonight, staked out his house, and the person in question was not allowed in and out without facing the shouted questions of reporters."

Alter even blamed Flynn, in part, for the act of a man who fired a shot inside a Washington restaurant on Sunday. He told police he went to the establishment to "self-investigate" the claim about which Flynn tweeted. Alter said congressional resolutions, stakeouts, and other measures are needed to stop Flynn from taking the job.

"What we need now is a feeding frenzy on this story," he said. "This man cannot take this job until he apologizes for spurring a violent act in Washington, helping spur a violent act."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also appeared on the show, blaming Trump, explaining that he had hoped Trump would "grow into the job." Trump has not even taken office, but Schiff made clear he does not need any more evidence before pronouncing judgement.

"This is really quite a terrifying prospect," he said.

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Michael Flynn
  3. President-Elect Trump
  4. Trump Transition
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