Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media continues to harp on the issue of racism leading up to the 2020 presidential elections. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, during an on-air segment, made the claim that one of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees wrote a racist law review article.

The focus of Maddow’s criticism was Second Circuit Court nominee Steve Menashi. Maddow claimed that in a 2020 law review article, entitled, “Ethnonationalism and Liberal Democracy,” Menashi advocated that ethnonationalism is essential to a liberal democracy. She said that Menashi’s article was “a high-brow argument for racial purity.” She misunderstood a line from the article and claimed Menashi said “democracy can’t work unless the country is defined by a unifying race.”

The point of that line in the law review article is to reaffirm how in the case of Israeli national identity, it is tricky to strictly define it as ethnic as Israeli Jews hail from multiple countries across the globe.

Despite the coverage of anti-Semitic statements by freshman female congresswomen by the mainstream media, the media remained silent over Maddow’s false claims about Menashi’s article. Many of the mentions about this segment came from conservative or libertarian media sources, such as Legal Insurrection, Townhall, Reason, the Daily Signal, and National Review.

Menashi currently serves in the White House counsel office, but boasts a long legal background. Menashi’s experience, as outlined by the Daily Signal, included a stint as an acting general counsel at the Department of Education, an assistant law professorship at George Mason University in Virginia, a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in New York, a research fellow at the New York University School of Law, a former law clerk of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and he graduated from Stanford University Law School. At Stanford, he was a senior articles editor of the Stanford Law Review.

PolitiFact’s Latest Fact Check Backs Up Senators’s False Claims that Michael Brown was Murdered

Despite evidence to the contrary, PolitiFact backed up the false claims from Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Michael Brown’s death in an officer-involved shooting in 2014 sparked city-wide riots in Ferguson, which sparked multiple incidents across the country in the following months.

This month marked the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, which Harris said was a “murder.” Her tweet said, “Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system.”

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Warren echoed the same line:

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However, contrary to their claims, the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation during the Obama presidency concluded that Michael Brown was not murdered by police officer Darren Wilson. The 86-page report noted that Wilson shot Brown in self-defense and “do not constitute prosecutable violations.” Both the Washington Post and agreed with the DOJ’s findings and said both senators were wrong to use the word “murder.”

But, PolitiFact did not agree with the DOJ, Washington Post or Instead, the organization said it could not dispute the use of the word “murder” because “the use of the word is open to some dispute.” Although PolitiFact found a “broad consensus that “murder” was the wrong word to use,” the organization did not rate Harris’s or Warren’s statements on their “Truth-O-Meter,” which rates statements as false or true.

PolitiFact was wrong to waffle on whether to declare the statement was true or false and opted not to make a firm stance, while other newspapers followed the facts and correctly labeled the statements as false.

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