When President Donald Trump identified and then admonished violent actors on both sides of the political divide who were present in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, the criticism came fast and from almost every direction.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said in a statement. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”
Liberal politicians and pundits in the mainstream media slammed Trump for placing blame on both sides. When the president doubled down on his belief there was fault on both sides, many of his detractors acted as if he had offered a full-throated endorsement of neo-Nazism.
Democrats are still milking the outrage over Trump’s comments. On Tuesday, Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-Va.) campaign sent out a fundraising email that began with a reference to Trump’s assessment of Charlottesville: “‘On many sides.’ With these three words, President Trump sent a horrible signal that white supremacists were not responsible for the violence, hatred and bigotry we saw in Charlottesville.”
Based on such unbridled outrage, it would be reasonable to expect that any politician who might condemn left- and right-wing political violence equally would be similarly attacked by liberals and the mainstream media.
But on Monday night, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) also denounced violence on all sides after being asked a question about Antifa by a reporter from the Independent Journal Review. “I disavow anyone — we won’t tolerate violence of any kind,” he said.
“You’re entitled to protest. First Amendment certainly protected. As I’ve said after Charlottesville, anyone who came to our state, anyone who committed violence, on any side, will be arrested,” McAuliffe continued. “Everybody’s entitled to do their protest, but we’re not going to accept violence from anybody.”
Unlike with Trump, however, there has been no mass outcry from the liberal media.
“When President Trump denounced all of the violence — ‘from many sides’ — that manifested itself in Charlottesville, he was standing in front of news reporters who have found fault with nearly all of his public utterances for more than two years,” Rich Noyes, research director at the Media Research Center, told LifeZette.
“This media is extremely hostile to Trump, and his choice to balance denunciation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the Klan with a similar denunciation of left-wing Antifa radicals was seized upon as proof of a soft-on-racism mindset that reporters have long suspected,” he said.
But Noyes also noted that McAuliffe’s comments echo Trump’s in another important way. “Terry McAuliffe is a former DNC chairman, longtime friend of the Clintons and Democrat in good standing,” he said. “So when he flinches from criticizing Antifa by name, he’s doing exactly what the press deemed a moral failing when President Trump did it — only there’s no outrage, and basically no news coverage.”
Noyes said that part of the lack of media attention paid to McAuliffe’s comments is likely a result of “the media properly giving much of their airtime over to the disaster in Texas,” but he also noted that “the cable news and the broadcast networks have still found plenty of time to bash President Trump on political issues (the Arpaio pardon, for example) since the storm hit.”
“So to skip over McAuliffe’s refusal to criticize Antifa by name, after their heavy criticism of President Trump, shows rank-and-file reporters either share McAuliffe’s reluctance to be as tough on violent left-wing thugs as they are on violent racist thugs — or their criticisms of Trump were fueled, at least in part, by typical liberal animus against a Republican president,” he said.
(photo credit, homepage image: Kate Wellington, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Edward Kimmel, Flickr)