MSNBC’s Joy Reid has long been a source of misinformation and anti-conservative hysteria, but she outdid herself this week with a malicious smear against National Review’s David French.
The short of it is this: Reid accused French of saying that a nuclear attack on the U.S. would be tolerable because it would mostly affect Democrats and minorities.
French, a veteran of the Iraq War, said nothing of the sort.
Rather, he published a brief article this week titled, “If a Missile Alert Sounds, Prepare to Live,” exploring realistic options and expectations should the U.S. come under nuclear attack.
“In the hours after the false missile alert in Hawaii, lots of folks online and in real life were asking themselves the same questions,” French explained Thursday. “It was a busy news day, and I didn’t have much time, but I drafted a relatively short post designed to make some simple points. Nuclear strikes are not as destructive as many people imagine, and there are simple things you can do that can actually increase your chances of survival. “
“That was it. That was the purpose of the post,” he added.
This is where it all falls apart. Newsweek, which is fast becoming America’s worst newsroom, published an article wherein the author suggested that French had downplayed the threat of nuclear war because – you guessed it – it wouldn’t affect Republican-controlled areas.
The Newsweek story, titled “Nuclear War? It Won't Get You in the Suburbs, Conservative Magazine Tells Readers,” ends with these paragraphs: “During the 2016 election, Trump won 50 percent of the vote in suburban America and 62 percent of the vote in small cities and rural areas compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45 and 34 percent performance in the regions.”
“Conservatives tend to prefer small towns and rural areas, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, with 46 percent of liberals preferring city life compared to just 4 percent of conservatives who said the same,” it added. “The most sprawling urban areas in the U.S. are also the most Republican compared to densely populated urban centers.”
Raw Story republished the Newsweek article under a slightly different headline that read, “Nuclear war won’t hit suburbs, conservative magazine assures readers.”
Enter Joy Reid, whose commentary is often heavy on the hyperbole and light on the facts.
“We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, ‘don't worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities.’ Shame on you, [David French],” she said in a since-deleted tweet that ultimately linked back to Raw Story.
Just to be absolutely clear, French said nothing of the sort. He didn’t even come close to saying what she tweeted. Reid would’ve known that had she taken the five minutes (or less!) needed to read French's initial column. But that’s apparently asking too much.
The MSNBC host eventually deleted her tweet after several Twitter users noted she was, in fact, spreading a lie.
“Taking back my take on this take – the [Raw Story] writeup doesn't reflect [David French's] intent,” she tweeted early Thursday morning. “David and I disagree on almost everything, but my take on this was off track.”
Notably absent from her bizarro-mea culpa are the words, “I am sorry, David French.”
Though this ordeal is embarrassing, it’s not terribly shocking. For Reid, it's part of a long pattern of bad behavior.
On Dec. 18, 2017, for example, she suggested incorrectly that a deadly Amtrak derailment near DuPont, Washington, which left three people dead, was proof that the GOP puts tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of funding for infrastructure and technology advancements that could save lives.
“The Amtrak derailment is yet another reminder that America needs substantial infrastructure investment. Our priorities are all wrong,” she tweeted. “Tax cuts for the super rich and corporations are not more important than lifesaving investments in technology, transportation etc.”
A curious statement, considering that the derailment occurred on a new track built specifically for a state of the art high-speed rail. Reid issued a correction. Eventually.
In July of last year, Reid tweeted the following bit of nonsense: “Donald Trump married one American (his second wife) and two women from what used to be Soviet Yugoslavia: Ivana-Slovakia, Melania-Slovenia.” Ivana Trump is not from Slovakia. She’s from the Czech Republic, the other part of what was formerly called Czechoslovakia, which also, by the way, was not part of Yugoslavia. Also, Yugoslavia was never part of the Soviet empire. As usual, careful with the facts.
Let's not forget the time when Reid panicked over President Trump’s “Loyalty Day” proclamation.
"Donald Trump tries to revive a Red Scare holiday. Seriously,” she tweeted. Trump did indeed mark May 1 as "Loyalty Day" – just like every president has since 1955. The Cold War-era holiday is not new, it's not insidious, and it's not a Trump creation.
These are just a handful of recent examples. There's much more where this comes from, and we haven't even touched on her weird gay-baiting conspiracies.
The great irony of Reid's easy relationship with the truth is that she, a woman who boasts of more than one million followers on social media and has been described as a “rising star” for MSNBC, has a beautiful James Baldwin quote displayed prominently on her Twitter page, which reads, "Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”