We Are in the Midst of a Cold Civil War in This Country

Over the weekend, Carl Bernstein suggested that we are in the midst of a “cold civil war” in this country where a “fact-based debate is becoming impossible.” That struck me as a pretty apt description of what is going on right now.

Bernstein focuses on Fox News as the culprit. Even the fact that we are all amazed when a pundit like Shepard Smith calls out the Trump administration for lying speaks volumes. We don’t expect that kind of truth-telling from the network. These days, Fox is tame compared to the promulgation of fake news sites that have sprung up over the last few years.

But in addition to Shepard Smith, Fox News also gives air time to someone like Judge Jeanine Pirro. Here is the diatribe she let loose on Saturday in defense of the Trump administration’s lies called out by Smith.

One of my first reactions to that segment was to remember that just recently Trump told Fox and Friends that Sen. Elizabeth Warren has an anger problem. The president obviously loves Judge Jeanine. He even recommended her on twitter. I don’t know whether or not she has an anger problem, but if not, she sure makes a good living on TV by pretending that she does.

If you are able to watch that clip, one thing that you’ll notice is that it is not just Donald Trump that is a chronic liar. I counted the ones Judge Jeanine told in about eight minutes. Being generous by not counting things she simply took out of context, she told twelve whoppers (click the links for a fact-check).

  1. Don Jr. is a political neophyte.”
  2. Never mentions that, in the email exchange with Rob Goldstone, Don Jr. was told that the information to be shared at the meeting came from the Russian government, who supported Trump Sr.’s campaign.
  3. “Real covert operatives say this is not how Russia operates.”
  4. Hillary did the same thing with Ukraine.”

At this point, Judge Jeanine switches from defending the Trump campaign to building a case to suggest that it is really Barack Obama who colluded with Russia.

  1. Obama knew about Russian interference in the election and did nothing.”
  2. “U.S. interferes in elections. Obama gave $300,000 to a nonprofit in Israel to defeat Netanyahu.”
  3. Obama wimped out after Syria used chemical weapons.”
  4. Obama put Putin in charge of overseeing the removal of chemical weapons in Syria.”
  5. Obama watched like a wuss as Putin invaded Ukraine.”
  6. Obama’s DOJ let Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya come to the U.S.
  7. Obama allowed Veselnitskaya to sit in the front row of a congressional hearing.”
  8. Obama administration sold 20% of our uranium to Putin with a financial kickback to the Clinton Foundation.

Judge Jeanine finishes her rant by claiming that Republicans in Congress did nothing about their old tried and true scandalmongering when it comes to Fast and Furious, the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi. With all of those lies I can’t help but think about Obama’s statement that if all he watched was Fox News, he wouldn’t believe himself either.

I didn’t watch that segment of Judge Jeanine and round up all those facts for my health. This is just one example of the kind of garbage that is being spewed by right-wing media that claim to be “news.” It is a perfect example of Bernstein’s assertion that we are in the midst of a cold civil war where fact-based debate is becoming impossible.

The moral side in our last civil war (anti-slavery) won the last time, until the confederate insurgents regrouped to defeat reconstruction.

By the time it was all over, the planter aristocrats were back in control, and the three constitutional amendments that supposedly had codified the U.S.A’s victory over the C.S.A.- the 13th, 14th, and 15th — had been effectively nullified in every Confederate state. The Civil Rights Acts had been gutted by the Supreme Court, and were all but forgotten by the time similar proposals resurfaced in the 1960s. Blacks were once again forced into hard labor for subsistence wages, denied the right to vote, and denied the equal protection of the laws…

So Lincoln and Grant may have had their mission-accomplished moment, but ultimately the Confederates won. The real Civil War — the one that stretched from 1861 to 1877 — was the first war the United States lost.

It would be almost 90 years before that insurgency was challenged by the Civil Rights Movement. I have no idea when or how the current insurgency will end. But the only bloodless way that happens is when more people recognize we’re in a cold civil war and reject the lies.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.