2017.04.11 Spicer: Hitler didn't use chemical weapons
Of course that Spicer clarified that he was talking against enemy combatants in a war, and not "Holocaust centers”, in the same briefing, so we all knew exactly what he meant -- but the media often omits that context. Instead, they pretend that using a term like "Holocaust center" is somehow trying to diminish the term "Concentration Camp", when the truth is that it is a far harsher term against the Germans and not a diminishing of it.
In the briefing, Spicer said,
"He was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. He brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that. But (not) in the way that Bashar al-Assad used them where he went into towns, dropped them down, into the middle of towns."
Immediately after the briefing where the Press was playing gotcha, Spicer released a statement saying,
"In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable."
And later that very night on CNN, he further apologized,
" I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week using chemical weapons and gas. And frankly I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust for which, frankly, there is no — there is no comparison. And for that, I apologize."
And the very next day at an event called Newseum, Spicer apologized again,
"I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have. And — and I screwed up. I mean, you — you know, and I hope people understand that — that we all make mistakes."
And General James Mattis had also clarified statements on the same day (about why the missile attack), and everyone knew exactly what was meant
“to stop the cycle of violence into an area that even in World War II, chemical weapons were not used on battlefields.”.... “Even in the Korean War, they were not used on battlefields,”... “Since World War I, there’s been an international convention on this.”
So this was a non-issue. Anyone that asked Spicer a question about it after he corrected himself in the Press briefing, immediately after it, Mattis clarified, and Spicer apologized on the same night, as well as the next day, is not a journalist. You know the answer to the questions asked, so there's no use in asking them. The purpose in asking any more questions on that, is to malign and attack, not to inform your audience or getting any new information out there. Instead of accepting that, the media continued to refuse to get the obvious and clarified point, and attacked him with questions about something they already had the answer to, and knew perfectly well what he meant. If anyone did that during Obama, they would have cried racism.
Examples of Media Bias
Pretend we had a responsible media, that cared about the truth. Every thing would be a teachable moment (even someone's gaffe). You' explain the following:
- Hitler did not use Chemical Weapons in WWII (unlike Italy and Japan), and we all know he gassed the Jews (and we all know that's not what Spicer was referring to)
- Others had used this comparison, but maybe we should all stop using it, or worse exploiting off the cuff remarks as vile anti-semitism that they were not, especially while ignoring clarifications (context) made in the same briefing that let everyone know what he meant
- Accept immediate apologies with grace, and stop calling for destroying only Republicans for saying things less stupid than Democrats -- demand moral consistency, and not punish people for admitting mistakes
The usual fact check sites did their usual job of checking half the facts and committing lies of omission:
- Snopes falsely labels the statements that Hitler didn't use chemical weapons in WWII as false. He did not use them as a tool of war. (A tool of extermination is different, and any one with a triple digit IQ and a shred of honesty knew what Spicer was referring to). But not Snopes.
- Politifact also jumped on board with a FakeNews "fact-check" that claimed using them in concentration camps is the same as dropping them on civilians or enemy combatants in war.
On the other side:
- FactCheck actually did a responsible job and deserves rare kudos for just laying out what happened and not coloring it with too much opinion/bias. Though to be fair, it was a guest post (crosspost), and not something that they wrote themselves. While there was lies of omission (not offering others that had said the same thing in the past, and not been pilloried for it), it was still the best of the lot.
Examples of Democrats saying the same thing
Democrats said he should be fired for saying such an immoral thing that shows "bad character". To quote Nancy Pelosi,
“Sean Spicer must be fired, and the President must immediately disavow his spokesman’s statements," House Minority Leader said in a statement. "Either he is speaking for the President, or the President should have known better than to hire him.”
Ignoring that he had already clarified once and apologized, twice before Pelosi made those statements. How soon they forget things they or their side said:
- Chris Matthews on MSNBC 2013 referring to the red line and Assad's first use of Chemical Weapons, "We didn’t use [chemical weapons] in World War II, Hitler didn’t use them”. “But we don’t use chemical weapons. That’s no deal.”
- Steven Erlanger, New York Times Sept 6, 2013 (and still their Bureau Chief), "No Western Army used gas on the Battlefield during the Global Slaughter of WWII. Hitler himself gassed in WWI, refused to use it against combatants.”
- Ticker Carlson, full episode 04/13/2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IieTUxsGNgE
Where were Nancy Pelosi's cries for the firing these folks? And that's the problem: the double standard.
More than that, CNN, CBS, MSNBC and others used this as a way to attack the administration, which as mentioned above isn't journalism (which is to inform, not further your political agenda or vendetta against the administration). "Everyone gets in trouble for using Hitler references".... except Democrat operatives using it against Republicans/Trump. And the Hill made a gaffe in attacking Spicer for his lesser gaffe, should they be held to the same standard they're holding him, or not? :
I don't care if you think Spicer is an idiot or said something stupid. Any place that played the Spicer clip without the corrections, or let Nancy Pelosi or other vile partisans attack Spicer without offering the context of their side doing the same thing, is not a journalist, they're propagandists. Journalism is making sure both sides of the story are explained and trusting your audience. If you only tell one side of the story, it shows you're ignorant and haven't done your research, or you're a partisan polemic that's intentionally deceiving your audience.
If there's any doubt of bias of a ginned up controversy, remember the topic. The point Spicer was making was to vilify Assad regimes use of Chemical Weapons (just had Obama had done), and to isolate Assad AND to pressure Russia into separating themselves from the Assad regime. It was to attack Russia -- but since that didn't fit the medias FakeNews "Trump + Russia" meme, they changed the topic to Holocaust Denial. If they cared about human rights in Syria, or Russia, they would have focused on those topics, which was the meat of the Press conference -- but their larger agenda was something else: attacking anyone in and around the Trump administration for anything.