At Fox News, trust Jennifer Griffin on Russia-Ukraine, tune out the 'Wag the Dog' theories
By Gary Abernathy
Veteran Pentagon reporter calls out conspiracy theories
Who knows what’s going through the minds of Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and anyone else acting like the world is overreacting to Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine. But everyone should be clear: Vladimir Putin’s intention to launch an attack on Ukraine is deplorable and should be condemned.
You know who I trust on this issue at Fox News? Longtime Pentagon national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin. A few days ago, after listening to a suggestion on Fox’s “The Five” that Russia-Ukraine was a manufactured, overblown situation designed to detract from the John Durham probe, Griffin said this:
“First of all, I need to level set with the conversation I’ve just been listening to. What we are witnessing right now is not something that just changed in the last 24 hours … This is a very different situation than…the Iraq War and WMDs. And how do we know? We’re seeing it with our own eyes. If you can’t look at the kind of Iskander missile battalions that are now in Belarus [and] 30,000 Russian troops there. Half of [Putin’s] air force has now been deployed toward Ukraine. I am told just moments ago from a senior defense official that 40 percent of his 190,000 troops who are on the border with Ukraine are now in attack positions. That is something we have been waiting for.
Right now, every American should be watching this and knowing that this is deadly serious. This is not some Wag the Dog situation. To even mention the Durham probe in the same sentence as what we know, and what we can see with our own eyes in terms of the military buildup and knowing what Vladimir Putin is capable of…”
She tailed off, apparently aghast at what she had been hearing from Fox cohorts prior to her report.
I also have a lot of faith in the opinion of my former boss, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who issued a statement today saying this:
President Biden’s initial sanctions announcement in response to Russian aggression in Donetsk and Luhansk is an important first step, but does not go far enough. The international community, including the U.S., EU, UK, Canada, Australia and others have now made it clear that Russia will face economic consequences for violating international law and Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The Biden administration’s plans to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and its CEO, along with Germany’s decision to finally suspend certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, is also welcome news. … Two Russian financial institutions and a small number of individuals are targeted in this first round of sanctions. To create an effective deterrent, tougher sanctions must be expanded to other financial institutions and export controls must be implemented.
And while former President Trump seems to recognize that Russia’s actions are wrong — claiming they wouldn’t be happening if he was president — his praise of Putin’s actions as “genius” and “savvy” is another example of why Trump is his own worst enemy.
This used to be simple, but let’s all agree on this, please: Anytime Russia decides to invade another country, it’s serious, and dangerous for the whole world.
Black history comes alive in the heart of Trump Country
In my latest Washington Post piece, I highlight a new book called “Black History of Highland County,” which details numerous interesting and exciting episodes from the southern Ohio community’s past.
I point out that too many Republicans in state legislatures are trying to control how black history is taught, out of fear of that popular bogeyman, Critical Race Theory:
Efforts requiring schools to play down examples of historic racism if anyone is made to feel “discomfort” or “guilt” are confounding to me coming from Republicans, who rightfully complain about de-platforming voices on social media and cancel culture run amok. Fortunately, more of America’s Black history is clawing its way out of undeserved obscurity anyway, particularly through new books — some from big publishing houses written by celebrated authors, and others on a smaller scale in unlikely places such as my former home of Highland County, Ohio, in the heart of Trump Country.
(Note that the Washington Post style is to capitalize the “B” in black and the “W” in white, which is better than the New York Times’ style, which only capitalizes Black.)
The book by Kati Burwinkel, Myra Cumberland Phillips and John Glaze highlights stories of black history that have been told frequently in recent years like the Marching Mothers and the Lincoln School saga, as well as lesser-known events like a Ku Klux Klan assault on black Christian campers in 1880 — an attack that the campers successfully rebuffed no fewer than three times.
I point out:
Efforts to suppress Black history deprive us of stirring examples of Americans overcoming adversity and courage under fire. Rather than making anyone feel guilty or uncomfortable, these true-life stories should inspire us all. They are testaments to the resilience and human spirit found in people of all races.
You can read it here. Subscription may be required if you have exceeded your free articles for the month.
Appreciate being profiled by Dan Sewell in the Enquirer
Longtime Associated Press reporter Dan Sewell is now retired from the AP — he should write a book about his long and very interesting career — and now he writes a couple of columns a month for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Dan profiled me and my work for the Washington Post this week and asked me some questions about the Republican Party in general and Ohio politics in particular.
The article looks back at how I hooked up with the Post after Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016:
After Trump’s victory, some in the stunned "Big Media," to use Abernathy’s term, realized there was a lot of America not being well-represented. The Washington Post came calling. "He’s not just a pro-Trumpish voice, he’s more of a Trump voter voice," Ruth Marcus, Post deputy editorial page editor, explained to the Columbia Journalism Review. "We are … really wanting to find the diverse viewpoints expressed in the election." His Post columns have led to frequent appearances on PBS NewsHour and other media shows, as well as talks on college and high school campuses. Abernathy tries to promote "communication and civil discourse between people who completely disagree with each other," co-existing and respecting each other’s rights to have differing points of view.
You can read the column here. Thanks for the article, Dan, I appreciate it. (Oh, if you think I look half asleep in the accompanying screen grab taken from a PBS appearance, I choose to think of it as being deep in thought.)
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