Accuracy in Media

Salon ran not one but two stories on Tuesday that declared, without evidence, that President Donald Trump is a racist.

The first dealt with a news item – a poll conducted by HuffPost.

“Just 19 percent of Americans think Donald Trump rejects white nationalism: poll,” read the headline. “Meanwhile, 39 percent of Americans said the commander-in-chief, in fact, supports white nationalism,” read the subhead on Shira Tarlo’s story.

She wrote in her lead that “most Americans believe President Donald Trump does not personally oppose white nationalism.”

She cited the results of a poll that was taken just after the murders at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Tarlo attempted to link Trump to the attacks.

“The suspected New Zealand gunman, who is an Australian citizen, allegedly praised Trump as a ‘Symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,’ and referred to immigrants as ‘invaders within our lands’ in a 74-page manifesto filled with hateful rhetoric that he appeared to post on social media before the attack.”

She then resurrected the claim touted in the Washington Post and elsewhere yesterday that although “Trump offered his ‘warmest sympathy’ and ‘best wishes’ to New Zealand in a Friday tweet, calling the massacre a senseless loss of life,” he “did not specifically express condolences to the Muslim community in New Zealand or deliver a message of empathy or support to Muslim Americans, who may feel scared as mosques around the country increased security measures as a result of the attacks.”

She faulted Trump for saying, in response to a question, that he did not believe white nationalism is on the rise in the U.S. – a contention backed by research – but rather “a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

Tarlo also took issue with presidential aide Kellyanne Conway calling for people to read the entire manifesto, saying this was a bad idea because “multiple studies have revealed that focusing on the identities of mass shooters and their possible motivations may inspire future attacks, as some perpetrators are inspired by notoriety and infamy to carry out an attack.”

The other piece, by David Masciotra, was more direct. “Trump’s racist delusions and the global threat of white hate,” read the headline on his story. “Democracy, security and peace are being endangered by white supremacist hate, while Trump yells about his wall,” read the subhead.

Masciotra began: “Donald Trump, speaking in a style that boldly combines the last call drunken rant with the megaphone corner rave, recently proved that three pillars of America’s executive governance are stupidity, racism and delusion.”

He then discussed Trump saying white nationalism is not on the rise and declared, “All evidence indicates that the group of antisocial and criminal people who have ‘very, very serious problems’ – on that we can agree with our president – are not so small and are not any smaller than the Mexican street gang MS-13, with its estimated membership of 10,000, which Trump has denounced often.”

Research shows there are no more than 5,000 Nazis in the United States, that membership in the Ku Klux Klan is in the 5,000-8,000 range and that MS-13 is a Salvadoran street gang founded in Los Angeles.

To complete the scene, Masciotra notes: “It is worth remembering that the Ku Klux Klan is the deadliest terrorist network in United States history, and that before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in American history was the Oklahoma City bombing. 168 people died in Oklahoma, all at the hands of Timothy McVeigh, a white supremacist and anti-government extremist.”

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