On Sunday, Roger Stone, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter to chat about the media’s coverage of the Republican candidate. Stelter teed up a clip of Trump speaking to an audience on the campaign trail. Referring to an apocryphal story about U.S. General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing killing Muslims in the Philippines, Trump riffed, “He took fifty bullets, and he dipped them in pig’s blood. And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the fifty people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person he said ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, okay?”
There was only one problem: The story is not true.
When asked about the importance of truth in campaigning, Stone responded, “Whether it’s accurate or whether it’s apocryphal is really beyond the point. The point he’s making, of course, is that Trump is more realistic about the dangers of radical Islam than, say, our current president….By the way, is this any less egregious than the president saying if you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan?”
It is far more egregious, considering that it’s essentially an endorsement for indiscriminately slaughtering Muslims.
Roger Stone will no longer be making such comparisons on CNN. “He will [no] longer appear as a guest on CNN,” says a network spokesperson about the author and former Trump adviser.
Just yesterday, Media Matters for America hammered CNN for according airtime to Stone even though he has used his Twitter account to launch nasty and racial attacks on network talent. “As Media Matters continues its campaign to highlight the worst of Roger Stone’s history, we encourage other networks to follow suit and agree to keep this notoriously controversial figure off of their airwaves moving forward,” said Media Matters President Bradley Beychok.
To the everlasting lament of the Erik Wemple Blog, we cannot repeat here the specifics of Stone’s nastiness, but summaries are available here and here. Gawker headlined a story on the matter, “CNN Should Stop Inviting This Horrible Bigot to Talk on TV.” We’ll try to get this one past the copy desk, however: In a tweet, Stone called CNN commentator Ana Navarro an “Entitled Diva Bitch.”
Is it surprising that a devoted supporter of Donald Trump would conduct himself so horribly as to draw a disqualification from a national cable channel? Not at all — just listen to Trump himself talk about women, Muslims, Mexicans and others unlike him. Defending the indefensible is tough to do without veering into the indefensible.
The practical implications of this move? Likely more airtime for CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord. A former Reagan White House political director, Lord is identified on air as a Trump supporter and surfaced on the CNN payroll with the apparent sole purpose of defending the candidate. From his perch in Pennsylvania, Lord — somehow — manages to craft pro-Trump positions without joining Stone in the gutter. At one point, Lord, using his grasp of history, researched a defense of Trump’s Muslim ban — a defense that Trump himself deployed.
For his part, Stone tweeted: