According to internal email thread discovered by The Daily Beast, a Fox News reporter called out his colleagues for defending President Trump‘s “both sides” comments in the wake of the clashes in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protesters.
The dust-up came after former Vice President Joe Biden launched his 2020 presidential campaign with a video that included footage from the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and Trump’s comments where he suggested there were “good people” amongst the torch-bearing racists, one of whom later killed counter-protester Heather Heyer.
According to emails first published by FTV Live, Fox News general assignment reporter Doug McKelway sent out an email to network employees saying he was going to put Biden’s words “out there, next to Trump’s original presser, and a live interview I did in C-ville with ‘good people on both sides,’” in an attempt to fact-check Biden and claim that Trump never tried to ‘both sides’ the debate.
In the email, McKelway included the following Winston Churchill quote: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
From The Daily Beast:
McKelway contrasted portions of Biden’s script against the same quotes that pro-Trump outlets have used to claim the president never defended white nationalists. And then the reporter highlighted a quote from his own interview with Brian Lambert, an armed Unite the Right attendee, who portrayed the neo-Nazi rallygoers as victims: “They’re denying people their right to assemble. They’re denying their right to speak freely, however hateful their views may be,” he bemoaned.
Moments later, Fox News digital senior editor Cody Derespina replied-all, agreeing with McKelway, and adding to it a snippet of a Fox News interview with Jarrod Kuhn, a Charlottesville marcher who claimed he was not a white supremacist, but simply there to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
That’s when Fox News Radio’s White House correspondent Jon Decker replied-all in the email thread and slammed his colleagues.
“I really don’t understand the point you are making,” he wrote. “Jarrod Kuhn was one of those individuals in Charlottesville holding a tiki torch while the mob chanted ‘Jews will not replace us.’”
Decker apparently got his points across. In a later email, McKelway walked back his comments.
“[I]t appears Lambert revealed himself to be not the squeaky clean 1st amendment supporter he claimed to be on live TV,” McKelway confessed.
In a snarky comeback for all on the email thread to see, Decker said, “So much for your Winston Churchill quote.”
“Based upon the slew of emails that I’ve received today, both of you should send an apology to your Fox News colleagues—many of whom are hurt and infuriated by your respective posts,” he continued, referring to McKelway and Derespina. “Your posts read like something you’d read on a White Supremacist chat room.”
Speaking to a gaggle of reporters this Friday, Trump was asked if he still thinks there were “very fine people” on “both sides” of the deadly Charlottesville rally.
“If you look at what I said, you will see that, that question was answered perfectly,” Trump replied. “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general — whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals.”
While we may be back to square one when it comes to Trump’s opinion about the Confederacy, at least some folks at Fox News are having second thoughts thanks to a bold reporter.
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