Media

Tucker Carlson completely loses it over the idea that the FBI should target white nationalist terrorists

Fox News' Tucker Carlson unleashed a furious screed on Tuesday night in response to California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff's argument that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security focus their efforts on white nationalist terrorism.

"Listen to America's new grand inquisitor," Carlson said on air, introducing a clip of Schiff speaking.

In the clip, Schiff, who is Jewish, explained to CNN that the concern is not new.

"We have been urging for some time that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security raise the priority to domestic terrorism, to white nationalism, as it threatens the country," he said. "And we're going to continue sounding the alarm, and make sure that they're devoting the time, the resources, the attention. Just as we did after 9/11 to the threat of international terrorism, we need to give the same priority and urgency to domestic terrorism."

They weren't surprising remarks, coming just weeks after the U.S. Capitol was stormed by a violent and deadly mob, filled with racists and white supremacists, trying to overthrow the constitutional order. As the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, it's Schiff's job to oversee the conduct of the agencies in question.

But for Carlson, the remarks were completely outrageous. To convey that message to his audience, he had to completely distort what Schiff said. The way Carlson chose to misinterpret the remarks was quite telling.

"Got that?" Carlson said after playing the Schiff clip. "Vote the wrong way, and you are a jihadi. You thought you were an American citizen with rights and just a different view. But no, you're a jihadi. And we're going to treat you like we treated those radicals after 9/11. Like we treated bin Laden. Get in line, pal. This is a war on terror. Keep in mind, as you listen to people talk like this — and Adam Schiff is far from the only one — they're talking about American citizens here. They're talking about you. But nobody seems to notice or care."

It was a remarkable reaction. In the clip — the clip Carlson specifically chose because he thought it best illustrated his point — Schiff was explicitly talking about white nationalist domestic terrorists. This is indisputably a crime, not First Amendment-protected activity, and it's a threat that the Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray recently warned about as an increasing peril.

"Within the domestic terrorism bucket, the category as a whole, racially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group. And within the racially motivated violent extremist bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that," Wray said last September. "Lately we've been having about 1,000 domestic terrorism cases each year. It is higher this year."

The attack on the Capitol only highlighted this danger. It's fair to worry that the new administration might overreact to this threat and that civil liberties might be at risk, as they were after 9/11. Those are concerns worth taking seriously.

But that's not what Carlson said. Instead, he told his audience that Schiff is arguing that people should be treated like terrorists if they "vote the wrong way." In fact, he even said that "you" will be treated like Osama bin Laden — that is, hunted down and killed — because of who "you" vote for. That's not within the same ballpark of what Schiff or anyone else has said. This a QAnon-level conspiracy theory that Carlson is spouting on primetime cable news.

Carlson also showed his own prejudice and bigotry, directly implying that "jihadis" couldn't be American citizens with all the rights that entitles them to. That's false, of course — some terrorists who commit jihadist-inspired acts of terrorism are Americans. Even foreign jihadi terrorists have many rights that ought to be recognized. But it's been people like Carlson and his allies who have consistently argued against the rights of terrorists when they happen to be Muslim. Despite his posturing now against the war on terror, he previously supported it. In fact, Carlson one called Iraqis "semiliterate primitive monkeys" who should "just shut the fuck up and obey."

So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that while overreacting to the idea that white nationalist terrorism should be targeted by law enforcement, Carlson also made clear that he thinks terrorists who are Muslim should not have any rights. He's being perfectly clear about who he stands with and who he stands against.

How Fox News is now defending QAnon

Supporters of the far-right QAnon conspiracy cult were among the extremists who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, inspiring national security experts to voice concerns about QAnon possibly making inroads in the military and law enforcement. But some pundits at Fox News, including Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, don't view QAnon as a threat and are now defending the movement by equating criticism of QAnon with attacks on free speech.

Carlson, during one of his angry rants on Tuesday night, mocked the idea that QAnon is dangerous.

"The real threat is a forbidden idea," Carlson said mockingly. "It's something called QAnon."

Carlson went on to show a collage of cable news clips describing QAnon's extremism before suggesting that those attacking QAnon are promoting "tyranny."

"No democratic government can ever tell you what to think," Carlson told viewers. "Your mind belongs to you. It is yours and yours alone."

This was a non-sequitur. The clips he had showed included media figures sharing fears and concerns about the belief system, not a call for the government to "tell you what to think."

Carlson went on to denounce QAnon critics as a "mob of censors, hysterics and Jacobin destroyers, all working on behalf of entrenched power to take total control of everything."

In a rant of her own, Ingraham showed a clip of Jen Psaki — the new White House press secretary under President Joe Biden — telling reporters that the National Security Council will try to determine "how the government can share information" on efforts to "prevent radicalization" and "disrupt violent extremist networks." And Ingraham tried to spin Psaki's announcement not as an effort to prevent domestic terrorism, but as a crackdown on conservatives in general.

"Republicans need to step up in unison and demand that the Defense Department and the Biden administration clearly define what they think constitutes extremism," Ingraham declared. "Now, if a member of the military voted for Trump, does that make him an extremist? Now, what if someone complains on Facebook that the federal government wastes a lot of money? Is she an extremist? What if they say that Roe v. Wade should be overturned? Or what if they participate in the March for Life?"

Ingraham continued, "What if they're conservative Baptists — they believe that sex outside of marriage is immoral? Is that extremist? What if they have guns at home and they're lifetime NRA members? Will they now be considered extremists or even terrorists? We deserve to know. You see where this is destined to lead. And it is certainly not to a freer and more united America."

By suggesting there's no way to target the threat from violent extremist ideologies like QAnon without targeting other conventional conservatives, Ingraham, too, offered more cover for the conspiracist movement.

Noam Chomsky slams 'liberal American intellectuals' for refusing to admit US is a 'leading terrorist state'

Although left-wing author Noam Chomsky was glad to see former President Donald Trump voted out of office in 2020, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have some vehement criticisms of the Democratic Party and American liberalism — including Democratic views on foreign policy. And during a recent interview with progressive journalist/author Chris Hedges, Chomsky stressed that American liberals have a hard time admitting how bad U.S. foreign policy can be.

Chomsky, now 92, appeared on Hedges' show, "On Contact," which airs on RT America — the U.S. division of the Russian cable news outlet RT. Hedges, like Chomsky, has been extremely critical of the Democratic Party.

"Just as you can't get the Republican mobs to admit that the election was lost," Chomsky told Hedges, "you can't get liberal American intellectuals to recognize that the United States is a leading terrorist state."

Chomsky told Hedges that throughout its history, the U.S. has had a belligerent and imperialistic foreign policy. And he notes some examples of U.S. foreign policy being condemned in other countries — for example, the International Court of Justice slamming the Reagan Administration's intervention in Nicaragua during the 1980s as a violation of international law.

"What the Reagan Administration was doing was the peak of terrorism by our own definitions," Chomsky told Hedges. "But the New York Times ran an editorial saying we can dismiss the judgment of the Court because it's a hostile forum. Why is it a hostile forum? Because it condemned the U.S."

Chomsky also slammed U.S. intervention in Cuba, noting its actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. "It was a serious terrorist war that almost led to the destruction of the world," Chomsky told Hedges.

White House press secretary shuts down Fox News' bogus attack on Biden

When Jen Psaki, the new White House press secretary under President Joe Biden, held a briefing on Monday, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy accused Biden of having a double standard when it comes to travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And Psaki quickly laid out the flaws in Doocy's argument.

Doocy told Psaki that when former President Donald Trump imposed travel restrictions on people entering the U.S. from China in 2020, Biden "called it xenophobic and fear-mongering." But now, Doocy added, "President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries."

Psaki told Doocy, "I don't think that's quite a fair articulation. The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic; he overturned the Muslim ban. He also, though, has supported…. travel restrictions in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are keeping the pandemic under control. That's been part of his policy."

The White House press secretary added, "But he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions, and he conveyed at the time — and more recently — the importance of having a multi-faceted approach: mask-wearing, vaccine distribution, funding in order to get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in the first 100 days. Not just travel restrictions."

Politifact has addressed Biden's use of the words "fear-mongering" and "xenophobic" in connection with Trump's travel policy last year. Despite the fact that it has become conventional wisdom in right-wing media that Biden attacked travels bans as xenophobic, the fact checker determined such claims are "mostly false." On Jan. 31, Biden said, "This is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria, xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia, and fear-mongering to lead the way instead of science." And on March 18, 2020, Biden tweeted:

According to Politifact, "Biden has not directly said that the restrictions were xenophobic. Around the time the Trump administration announced the travel restriction, Biden said that Trump had a 'record of hysteria, xenophobia and fear-mongering.' Biden used the phrase 'xenophobic' in reply to a Trump tweet about limiting entry to travelers from China and in which he described the coronavirus as the 'Chinese virus.'"

Josh Hawley slammed for railing against 'the muzzling of America' — on the front page of the New York Post

In an op-ed published by the New York Post on Sunday, January 24, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri complains bitterly about what he claims is "the latest form of cancel culture" in the United States: being lambasted for his unwavering support of President Donald Trump following the 2020 presidential election. But Hawley's op-ed wasn't buried deep inside the pages of the Post, which ran it as a cover story. And the far-right Republican and Trump loyalist is drawing a great deal of criticism for claiming that he exemplifies "the muzzling of America" in light of the fact that a major newspaper in the largest city in the U.S. gave him the front cover to make his bogus claims.

In his op-ed, Hawley writes, "On behalf of the voters of my state, I raised a challenge to the presidential electors from Pennsylvania after that state conducted the election in violation of the state constitution. Maybe you agree with me. Maybe you don't. But whatever your view, Corporate America's rush to cancel those it dislikes should trouble you."

Hawley makes it sound like he is being persecuted for standing up for democracy. In fact, he's being criticized for pandering to extremists who were making false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Hawley cynically announced that on January 6, he would contest Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. And a now-infamous photo shows Hawley waving in solidarity with violent far-right insurrectionists who later stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in the hope of preventing the certification of democratic election results.

Hawley's op-ed is being met with a blistering response on Twitter. Here are some of the many negative reactions:













Josh Hawley hometown paper reveals 'warning signs': Senator has lifelong history of siding with right-wing extremists

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) exhibited "warning signs" of an extremist sympathizer long before he sided with a mob of people who set out to attack the U.S. Capitol, according to a recent report.

The Kansas City Star revealed on Sunday that Hawley has a history of standing up for racists and extremists that stunned his early mentors.

According to the Star, Hawley spoke up for the rights of militia members after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and defended L.A. police detective Mark Fuhrman against charges of racism following the trial of O.J. Simpson.

"Many of the people populating these movements are not radical, right-wing, pro-assault weapons freaks as they were originally stereotyped," Hawley wrote regarding militia groups following the bombing. "Dismissed by the media and treated with disdain by their elected leaders, these citizens come together and form groups that often draw more media fire as anti-government hate gatherings."

Hawley also argued in his writings that Fuhrman was unfairly called a racist after his use of racial slurs came to light during the Simpson trial.

"In this politically correct society, derogatory labels such as 'racist' are widely misused, and our ability to have open debate is eroding," he opined.

"Since the Capitol rampage, Hawley's mentors have disavowed him," the Star report explained. "Donors have demanded refunds. Colleagues have called for his resignation or expulsion. And those who helped guide his career are asking themselves if they missed something essential about their former mentee."

David Kennedy, a Stanford professor who served Hawley's academic adviser, told the paper that he felt "a little bamboozled" after learning the details of the senator's past.

Read the entire report from The Kansas City Star.

'Unfairly vilified': Glenn Greenwald cries 'censorship' after getting NYT reporter 'fired' for Biden tweet

Free speech warrior Glenn Greenwald complained about "censorship" over the weekend after he was accused of triggering the firing of a New York Times reporter who tweeted about getting "chills" as Joe Biden was on route to becoming the 46th president.

According to reports on Twitter, the Times fired contract editor Lauren Wolfe after Greenwald complained about one of her tweets that seemed to suggest she was relieved that Biden was about to become the next president.


Greenwald later claimed that he disagreed with Wolfe's dismissal.

"Liberals — who spend half their day online attacking New York Times reporters for insufficient fealty to the Democratic Party (which is like criticizing Maddow for insufficient attention to Russia) — have promulgated a new rule for everyone else," he wrote.


In an interview on Fox News on Sunday, Greenwald complained about "censorship" of conservatives.

During the discussion, Fox News host Maria Bartiromo opined about a "major problem" of the media "trying to mislead the public."

"Big tech continues to snuff out free speech on its platforms," she warned, citing a recent poll.

"I think it's an incredibly important story that's receiving almost no attention," Greenwald said. "Because the people who should give attention are the ones that this poll says they are losing faith and trust. This is not a new sudden development. This has been taking place for years."

According to Greenwald, media "blame others who criticize their bad reporting as though they're being unfairly vilified."

"And when that doesn't work," he continued, "what they do now is a third response, which is trying to censor their critics and those who are actually inspiring trust by saying, 'Kick these people off the Internet, their audience is too big, censor these people, throw their platform off the Internet.'"

"They're now at the point where they're advocating censorship," Greenwald said.

"Unbelievable," Bartiromo agreed. "Let's not forget, The Washington Post and The New York Times won Pulitzers over their coverage of the Russia hoax! Right? So they don't want to give the mea culpa that, oh, wait, we were had."

Watch the video below from Fox News.


Glenn Greenwald cries 'censorship' after getting NYT reporter 'fired' youtu.be

Russians in 38 cities brave freezing temperatures to protests against Putin jailing his biggest opponent

Russian citizens in 38 cities are protesting the country's sham elections in which Russian President Vladimir Putin has felt so threatened by the opposition candidate, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, that he has had him imprisoned and poisoned in an attempt to silence his voice and kill his movement.

The Russian presidential elections are a complete sham used to legitimate Putin's power. In the last election, Putin "won" nearly 77 percent of the vote amid claims of ballot stuffing, the Kremlin choosing which candidates get to run, police arresting any anti-Putin protesters and pro-Putin candidates receiving far more financial backing than his opponents.

Navalny himself, a popular anti-corruption campaigner who is one of Putin's most outspoken critics, according to The Week, has previously been barred from running due to a trumped-up and controversial fraud conviction allegedly masterminded by Putin. In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent called Novichok and survived his hospitalization. Navalny has said he got a Russian federal agent to reveal how he was poisoned, though the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

Three days ago, Navalny was jailed once more for allegedly violating his parole. He now inhabits Matrosskaya Tishina or Sailor's Silence, a jail in Moscow's north-east region that has housed high-ranking prisoners that authorities have wanted to cut off from the outside world since the Soviet era, according to Reuters. The jail is notoriously deadly.

Russian citizens across the nation have seemingly had enough and have begun protesting his imprisonment, as the videos below attest. Hundreds have been arrested as police fight to maintain control.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia has weighed in by saying, "We're watching reports of protests in 38 Russian cities, arrests of 350+ peaceful protesters and journalists. The U.S. supports the right of all people to peaceful protest, freedom of expression. Steps being taken by Russian authorities are suppressing those rights."






















'The US is falling apart': How Russian media is reveling in the US Capitol siege

Lena Surzhko Harned, Penn State

The storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which was Christmas Eve for Eastern Orthodox Christians, was a perfect holiday gift for Russian politicians and state-controlled Russian media.

While President Vladimir Putin has remained silent so far, reaction from political leaders was instantaneous, and the topic has dominated Russian news coverage ever since.

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that while the siege is “an internal affair," it's important to point out that the “electoral system of the U.S. is archaic."

Konstantin Koschev, head of the International Affairs Committee of the Federal Council, the upper chamber of Russian Parliament, proclaimed “the end of the celebration of democracy."

Russian media have been eager to take up these points.

For years, the pro-Kremlin media has exalted stability as the core virtue of Putin's “sovereign democracy" – a term coined by Putin.

As a scholar of post-Soviet politics, I've watched how state-controlled Russian media have portrayed pro-democracy protests in countries surrounding Russia, including my native Ukraine, as CIA-led efforts to destabilize Russia.

The storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters has allowed Russian media outlets to change the conversation and depict the siege as the final collapse of the U.S. political system and democracy itself.

US 'disorder'

Russian coverage of the Capitol insurrection points out the perceived hypocrisy of Democratic leaders and the U.S. media.

Russian state-controlled media have repeatedly juxtaposed Democratic outrage over former President Donald Trump's role in the siege against the party's support for the “BLM and antifa summer riots" – their term for racial justice protests last summer in the wake of George Floyd's death.


State-controlled media have also highlighted allegations – debunked in the U.S. – that members of antifa, a left-wing protest movement, and Black Lives Matter participated in the storming of the Capitol. “Time Will Tell" and “60 Minutes," two pro-Kremlin news talk shows on the state-run Russia 1 TV channel, have dedicated air time to this allegation.

The upshot of such coverage juxtaposes the disorder in the United States to the order and stability in Russia – a favorite message of Russian propagandists.

'Digital gulag for Trump'

Somewhat surprisingly, members of both the Russian political opposition and the country's pro-Putin political elite assert that the suspension of Trump's social media accounts amounts to censorship and undermines democracy.

Such statements from people like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the bombastic nationalist leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, come off as hypocritical in a country whose ruler's power is based on censorship and anti-democratic measures, but are not surprising.

But Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader and Putin critic who was poisoned and almost died last August and was recently jailed upon his return to Russia, also criticized Trump's Twitter ban. He is likely worried that the Russian government will mimic companies like Twitter in its own censorship efforts.

Yet, there is also much relish for discussing Trump's Twitter ban among Russian propagandists. That included Vladimir Soloviev, a popular television host, who has dubbed it the “digital gulag for Trump." He has argued that the social media ban is part of an ongoing campaign to silence Trump and his supporters.

On Jan. 13, the hosts of the evening talk show “Time Will Tell" reacted with horror at the “police state" and “repressions" of pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol.

The hosts likened the tips received by the FBI from the public to citizens snitching on each other – a remark that resonates with anyone aware of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin's reign of terror.

They also insisted that Trump supporters have become the “enemies of the people," after Sen. Chuck Schumer urged the FBI to add Capitol rioters to the federal no-fly list.

This portrayal of Trump and his supporters as persecuted political dissidents has been used to further highlight the argument that American democracy is steeped in hypocrisy.

'US is falling apart'

So-called U.S. disintegration has been a favorite topic for the state-controlled network Russia 1. The hosts of “Time Will Tell" have repeatedly reinforced this point by referring to the U.S. as “United, for now, States."

During a recent broadcast, host Anatoly Kuzichev repeatedly said, “the U.S. is falling apart."

RT, another state-controlled media outlet formerly known as Russia Today, reinforced a similar claim by quoting the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who said the Capitol insurrection has “called into question the future fate of the United States as a state."

If Russian media outlets are to be believed, there are no longer any beacons of democracy left in the world. Margarita Simoniyan, chief editor of RT, summed up that view in a tweet: The United States “never were" a model of democracy.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation's newsletter.]The Conversation

Lena Surzhko Harned, Assistant Teaching Professor of Political Science, Penn State

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Conservatives are accidentally telling on themselves with their new complaint about Biden

President Joe Biden's inaugural speech won praise from many observers, who appreciated his calls for unity and his unflinching but still optimistic assessment of the problems the country faces and the path forward. But many Republicans and conservatives lashed out against Biden in the days that followed, picking up on what others might have assumed were innocuous passages and using them as a source of outrage.

The talking points quickly became quite common on the right, revealing disturbing trends in right-wing thought.

On Fox News, Guest Dan Henninger said of Biden's speech:

...he was talking about things like people telling lies for power and profit. He talked about nativism, white supremacy. I think a lot of people sitting -- I mean let's face it. Half the country, nearly half the country did vote for Donald Trump.
It was at that point President Biden talking about Donald J. Trump or is he talking about the people who voted for Trump? Cause I think a lot of them would be entitled to sit out there and say, "I'm not that person."
And if he is trying to reconcile with the country, it's one thing for him to be giving his inaugural speech about his grievances with Donald J. Trump, but a lot of people out there who supported Trump and his policies did not agree with some of those ideas.

It might've seemed like an odd comment, because Biden didn't accuse Trump or even his supporters of anything in particular. He spoke of white supremacy once, referring to "a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat." He also said: "Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart."

So if Trump supporters or whomever else don't think that they're a source of racism or white supremacy, they shouldn't have any reason to think Biden was talking about them.

But Fox News host Martha MacCallum was immediately receptive to Henninger's strange claims, saying: "I think it's a great point that you bring up, Dan. He talked about nativism, racism and fear. And, you know, it kind of fits into the litany of words that we've heard about the deplorables, about clinging to guns and religion, about cults and people being -- need to be deprogrammed."

She also said: "Although there was a lot of outreach in that speech, there was not a line that he could have had in there that might have said, you know, 'You, you know, you voted for President Trump and, you know, I hear you. I hear the things that you want, I hear the things that you care about. And I want to meet you halfway.'"

This was an even stranger comment because Biden explicitly said:

To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. And if you still disagree, so be it. That's democracy. That's America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation's greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.

The off-kilter reactions didn't end with MacCallum and Henninger.

Karl Rove, a long-time operative in the GOP, had a similar reaction to the speech. "The racism thing to me is — I was offended in the speech," he said. "There was a point in there where he said 'we're divided as a country between the people who believe in the American ideal, and racism, nativism, and fear.' No, no, no, we're divided as a country politically over questions of policy and direction, and respect. But we're as united as a country against racism and nativism."

Again, he misquoted Biden, who said:

Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart.

Rove admitted there are still racists and bigots in the country, so he could have seen himself as being on Biden's side when the president said he stood against these forces. But instead, like other conservatives, Rove interpreted Biden's words as an attack.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky took a similar view.

"If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly-veiled innuendo calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book, calling us people who don't tell the truth," Paul said on Fox News.

At no point in the speech did Biden refer to Republicans or Trump himself. As quoted above, he welcomed those who didn't support him to hear them out, while also promising to recognize their right to dissent peaceably.

Who might Biden have been referring to when he talked about racists, nativists, and white supremacists? The most obvious example is the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, some wearing explicitly Nazi-themed outfits or wielding the Confederate battle flag. He might have been referring to people like Stephen Miller, the architect of many of Trump's most racist and vicious immigration policies. He might be referring to the Republicans who sought to specifically throw out the votes of cities and states with large Black populations in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 eleciton.

But was he referring to Henninger, MacCallum, Rove, and Paul?

That's up for them to decide. Biden's call for unity is thoughtful and specific. The speech made clear that for him, "unity" isn't about everyone agreeing. We don't compromise with white supremacists, after all; we simply seek to defeat them. Unity is a value that finds itself in opposition to an ideology like white supremacy. And Biden is sounding a rallying cry for the United States to unite behind this value.

It's notable then, that many conservatives took this call as a direct attack. But that doesn't really say much about Biden or his speech. It tells us a lot about them. They're the type of people who hear denunciations of white supremacy and nativism and feel personally attacked. They're implicitly putting themselves in opposition to Biden's call for unity against bigotry.

The most charitable interpretation of this position is that they just don't see nativism or white supremacy as serious threats in the United States, and so they interpret a politician's words denouncing them as being a smokescreen for attacking others. But that's not really a great defense, because it means they're ignorant, at best, of serious threats in the country, threats that affect others. And it suggests they have no interest in uniting to combat these forces, which is a damning indictment in itself.

'That is a lie': Republican obliterated on CNN for defending efforts to overturn election

On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," anchor Erin Burnett grilled freshman Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), one of many House Republicans who tried to overturn the results of the election.

"Congresswoman, of course you did object to the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania as Congress was certifying them on the day of the deadly insurrection," said Burnett. "So how do you square saying you want to work with President Biden, when you were questioning the legitimacy of the election on January 6th?"

"Well, I went into that floor discussion with an open mind, you know," said Malliotakis. "I didn't personally sign any objections, but I said I was going to listen to what was brought and discussed on the floor. Certainly constituents of mine expressed concerns about irregularities."

"I'm just wondering, when you look back and are honest with yourself, do you feel you sort of bought into a narrative here that we all know was completely false?" said Burnett. "[Donald Trump]'s out there saying 5,000 dead people voted in Georgia. Two dead people voted in Georgia, but rhetoric like that got people like you on board. Do you feel you were duped?"

"I think that there is an issue that there are tens of millions of Americans who are concerned about whether there are safeguards in our election process," said Malliotakis.

"They're concerned because of lies like that," Burnett pushed back. "We're concerned because of lies like that. That is a lie. They heard that. If I heard that and believed it, I might be concerned, too. But it's not true."

"I've never said anything about widespread fraud," said Malliotakis. "I've said that there have been certain irregularities that need to be looked at closer, and the American people deserve to know if that took place in this election, and it appears that it did in some states, and that is all we're asking for, and I think that's very fear, just ease the minds of tens of millions of Americans who feel the election wasn't fair."

"Those tens of millions of Americans think that it wasn't fair because Donald Trump told them that, and that voice of Donald Trump was amplified by other people in power," said Burnett. "Because the reason they believe it wasn't fair is because someone told them it wasn't fair, and it was fair. So what I'm asking you, do you feel that you got duped and played a little bit in this?"

Watch below: