PBS NewsHour twice accused GOP critics of Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg and left-wing political donor George Soros of anti-Semitism on Friday’s show. Those doing the accusing were not cantankerous liberal guests, but host Amna Nawaz and White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez.
Barron-Lopez was up first. Talking about the potential for violence when former President Trump is arraigned on Tuesday, she lamented that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene plans to travel to New York to lead protests and that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson “is telling his viewers that it’s probably not a good time for them to get rid of their AR-15s.”
Greene and Carlson’s remarks come at a time when “Trump and a number of his allies have been using dog whistle attacks, anti-Semitic attacks against—when they attack D.A. Alvin Bragg by saying that he is backed by George Soros, who is Jewish.”
Of course, Barron-Lopez provided no evidence that criticizing Soros is anti-Semitic other than simply declaring it. However much the media may strain to claim he is, Soros is not a code word for all Jews and the conspiracy theory that Jewish money controls the world. Soros is an individual person with dangerous beliefs about law and justice.
Barron-Lopez mainted that “a researcher” she spoke says the current environment among Trump supporters is “lukewarm” compared to January 6, but they are “and very concerned about potential for more violence.”
A few minutes later, Nawaz was kicking off the weekly segment with New York Times columnist David Brooks and pinch-hitter for Jonathan Capehart, Karen Tumulty, when she repeated much of Barron-Lopez’s claim, “Mr. Trump has been indicted. Republican allies now have been continuing his lines of attacking the prosecutor, attacking the prosecution and the prosecutor, using some anti-Semitic dog whistles, also some racist undertones to a lot of that.”
She further wondered why Republicans are freaking out over the indictment, “David, they could say, “You know what, innocent until proven guilty. We believe in the justice system,” but they’re not saying that. Why not?”
For his part, Brooks didn’t really answer the question, which is unfortunate because it could’ve shed light on both Bragg’s newfound desire to be a tough lawman and the novel legal theories he is likely going to be using.
Instead he lamented the indictment “has taken the populism and ratcheted it up to militaristic levels.”
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Here is a transcript for the March 31 show:
7:12 PM ET
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: So, on that security that New York PD is ramping up, Marjorie Taylor Greene, big ally of Trump, a House Republican, said that she is headed to New York on Tuesday for the arraignment. She tweeted that today, saying that she's going to be going there and calling for protests.
Also calling it a witch hunt in her tweet. That also comes on the-- as Fox's Tucker Carlson, on air, as he’s talking about the indictment, is telling his viewers that it’s probably not a good time for them to get rid of their AR-15s and it also comes as Trump and a number of his allies have been using dog whistle attacks, anti-Semitic attacks against—when they attack D.A. Alvin Bragg by saying that he is backed by George Soros, who is Jewish and I spoke to a researcher at the Soufan Center which tracks extremism, they track some 32 sites across the web and he told me that the violent rhetoric right now on those platforms is lukewarm compared to January 6, so it's not as intense, but they are concerned because of the fact that it can just take one bad actor, the way we saw in Ohio after the Mar-a-Lago raid where there was an attack on the FBI and so they are tracking them and very concerned about potential for more violence.
7:29 PM ET
AMNA NAWAZ: Let's begin with the biggest story. Mr. Trump has been indicted. Republican allies now have been continuing his lines of attacking the prosecutor, attacking the prosecution and the prosecutor, using some anti-Semitic dog whistles, also some racist undertones to a lot of that. David, they could say, “You know what, innocent until proven guilty. We believe in the justice system,” but they’re not saying that. Why not?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I guess, well first, it’s just a grave moment and I’m struck by—they are not being struck by the gravity of the moment of a former president being indicted. There was a good piece in Persuasion, an online site that I enjoy, looking at Trump's rhetoric over the last seven years and if we recall when he came down the escalator, and even that first convention speech and the inauguration, “American Carnage,” it was mostly economic, “those people have betrayed you,” but then it ramps up and it changes and it changes and then last—or July of 2020, he was at Mount Rushmore, if you may remember.
Then, finally, it's getting apocalyptic. And now it's entered full, we're in the final battle. That's the rhetoric that is being used now.
And that has taken the populism and ratcheted it up to militaristic levels. And, right now, it's helping him. I mean, as the indictments have been talked about, his poll numbers are surging. And as we saw, every other Republican candidate, they can't attack Trump now. They got to rally around the guy.
And so you just have this sense of this upward rising tide of bile in the body politic.