Accuracy in Media


Mainstream media defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday after she crossed a parliamentary line on the House floor.

On the floor, Pelosi spoke in support of a resolution she drafted to condemn President Donald Trump for his tweets about the “Squad” of young first-term Democratic women who have grabbed headlines with their controversial remarks and positions.

House rules, going back to the time of Thomas Jefferson, prohibit disparaging members of Congress or the president by name – and later decisions have made clear calling the president or a fellow member a “racist” by name constitutes a violation.

Vox avoided saying Pelosi had done anything wrong in a headline on its story by Ella Nilsen and Tara Golshan, which read: “Why Pelosi calling Trump’s tweets racist on the House floor turned into chaos” – subhead: “Blame Thomas Jefferson.”

As she introduced the non-binding resolution, Pelosi said: “Every single member of this institution should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people.”

Republicans, led by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins of Georgia, called for Pelosi’s words to be taken down – which means they are removed from the record and she is not allowed to speak again on the House floor for the rest of the day.

Pelosi’s violation of the rules was the Republicans’ fault, the media said. “The mayhem comes down to House Republicans’ refusal to censure Trump, no matter the extremity of his rhetoric,” Golshan and Nilsen wrote. “Since his weekend tweets, Trump has not backed down on his comments,” and “Republicans have been steadfast in defending him.”

“A divided House voted Tuesday to condemn President Trump’s racist remarks telling four minority congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their ancestral countries, with all but a handful of Republicans dismissing the rebuke as harassment while many Democrats pressed their leaders for harsher punishment of the president,” read the lead on the Washington Post’s story: “A divided House votes for resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks,” by Mike DeBonis, John Wagner and Rachael Bade.

The Post went on to say: “The imagery of the 240-to-187 vote was stark: A diverse Democratic caucus cast the president’s words as an affront to millions of Americans and descendants of immigrants, while Republican lawmakers – the vast majority of them white men – stood with Trump against a resolution that rejected his ‘racist comments that have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.’”

It was Trump’s fault because some members of Congress had been told to ‘go back’ before, wrote Amanda Terkel and Alexis Arnold of HuffPost in “Donald Trump’s ‘Go back’ Slur All Too Familiar to Minority Members of Congress: — subhead: “White lawmakers, however, acknowledged that people generally assumed they were American.”

The HuffPost story began: “President Donald Trump insists he wasn’t being racist when he told four minority congresswomen who’ve had the audacity to criticize him to ‘go back’ to the countries from which they came.”

“’Those Tweets were NOT Racist,” they quoted Trump as saying in a tweet. “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.’”

Incorrect, HuffPost wrote.

“Those tweets were indeed racist. Almost all people of color have stories to tell about being perceived to be an ‘other,’ someone who isn’t really American.”

HuffPost relayed a number of quotes from members of Congress who had been asked whether they had been told to “go back” to somewhere.

Asian, Hispanic and African-American members all said they had heard the phrase from time to time. White members of both parties said they had not been told to “go back.”

“In other words, Trump’s comment was something that nearly every minority member of Congress has heard and nearly every white member has not,” they concluded. “Yet, somehow, he insists it wasn’t racist.”




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