A guest on CNN suggested that President Donald Trump is likely responsible for more deaths than several of the worst mass-murdering autocrats of the 20th century — and the show’s anchor, Brian Stelter (shown above left), didn’t even push back on the absurd comment.
Dr. Allen Frances, former chairman of Duke University’s psychiatry department, took part in a panel discussion about whether mental health professionals can make any assessments about Trump from afar, even if those mental health professionals have personally never met the president.
Stelter had just finished a monologue in which he defended the media’s constant suggestions that Trump may not be mentally stable.
Frances actually said that suggesting Trump isn’t mentally stable is a “terrible insult” to the mentally ill.
He said, “They have enough problems and stigma as it is. Calling Trump ‘crazy’ hides the fact that we’re crazy for having elected him and even crazier for allowing his crazy policies to persist.”
He continued, “Trump is as destructive a person in this century as Hitler, Stalin, Mao were in the last century. He may be responsible for many more million deaths than they were. He needs to be contained, but he needs to be contained by attacking his policies, not his person.”
The former Duke professor said that “psychological name-calling terms distracts us from getting out to vote.” He added that “the problem is the diagnosis offered have been amateurish. They don’t apply to Trump. They will never get Trump out of office.”
.@AllenFrancesMD, a psychiatrist, tells @Brianstelter: Trump “may be responsible for many more million deaths” than Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong.https://t.co/cBUZVQjhNU pic.twitter.com/RVARyeVnVh
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 25, 2019
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After several media outlets reported on Frances’ ridiculous comments as well as Stelter’s failure to push back on them, the CNN host responded on Twitter to express regret over the way he handled the segment.
Attempting to blame it on tech difficulties, Stelter wrote, “I agree that I should have interrupted after that line. I wish I had heard him say it, but I was distracted by tech difficulties (that’s why the show open didn’t look the way it normally does, I had two computers at the table, etc.). Not hearing the comment is my fault.”
I agree that I should have interrupted after that line. I wish I had heard him say it, but I was distracted by tech difficulties (that’s why the show open didn’t look the way it normally does, I had two computers at the table, etc). Not hearing the comment is my fault.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 25, 2019
People on Twitter were quick to criticize Stelter.
The problem is giving someone so clearly willing to violate the standards of their profession a platform. No psychiatrist is supposed to comment on the mental health status of someone they have not examined. Astonishing.
— Stacey (@ScotsFyre) August 25, 2019
I’m having the sort of technical difficulties that prevent me from believing you
— Jimber (@notablyharmless) August 25, 2019
This piece originally appeared in the Objectivist and is used by permission.
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