Washington Gadfly

Brian Stelter: ‘Hundreds’ Of Swastikas, Racist Attacks After Trump Win

(Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Turner)

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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In little-noticed remarks Saturday, “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter Saturday parroted data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, claiming that there have been “hundreds of cases of swastikas, of racist language, of harassment, of in some cases, assaults and bullying across this country” since Donald Trump was elected.

Stelter ignored repeated inquiries on whether he has confirmed the data.

But on “Reliable Sources” Sunday, Stelter did not repeat his claim, even though it would have meshed perfectly with his faux mea culpa for journalists’ botched predictions that actually just scapegoated Trump and his supposedly dim-witted supporters for their own failings.

“If I can make one more point, I’m more concerned — not more concerned — I’m as concerned about Trump’s fringe supporters as I am about Trump himself,” he told host Poppy Harlow Saturday. “What I mean by that is we’re seeing hate, we are seeing hate from fringe supporters who do not represent the majority of Trump voters.”

“We are seeing hundreds of cases of swastikas, of racist language, of harassment, of in some cases, assaults and bullying across this country.”

We are?

The Anti-Defamation League, which slimed Trump as a Jew baiter during the campaign, cited three incidents of swastikas being written in connection with Trump’s name, out of a country of 318 million people. CNN.com thus far has reported only two Swastika incidents linked to Trump — both in Philadelphia.

“The words ‘Sieg Heil 2016’ and ‘Trump’ — with a swastika substituted for the T in Trump — were spray-painted on a building’s glass window on South Broad Street,” according to the triple byline story.

“A swastika and ‘Trump’ were written on a utility box at Broad and Reed streets.”

Sure, seems like CNN is devoting considerable manpower to ferreting anything that could possibly give folks the impression that America’s own Kristlnacht is imminent.

But the CNN.com reporters, to their credit, noted that, “It was unclear if the graffiti was a protest of Trump or a pro-Nazi act.”

What about the hundreds of “assaults” that Stelter asserted? The CNN.com piece actually mentioned just one incident about the San Diego State Muslim student who claimed that was robbed by two men making comments about the president-elect and Islam. “The men grabbed the student’s purse and backpack and removed her keys. After the student returned from calling the police, her car was gone.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center data was compiled with the following method: “Pulling from news reports, social media, and direct submissions at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, the SPLC had counted 201 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation across the country as of Friday, November 11 at 5pm. These range from anti-Black to anti-woman to anti-LGBT incidents. There were many examples of vandalism and epithets directed at individuals. Often times, types of harassment overlapped and many incidents, though not all, involved direct references to the Trump campaign. Every incident could not be immediately independently verified.”

SPLC, unlike CNN, cited instances of anti-Trump harassment and vandalism, incidents that the media has largely ignored or under-reported.

“The SPLC received a handful of reports (around 10) of anti-Trump harassment and vandalism as well, the majority of incidents taking the form of the latter,” the group said. “A video of a white man and alleged Trump voter being beaten in Chicago is making the rounds on social media but authorities say that the incident was the result of a traffic altercation.”

CNN.com contradicted the SPLC report they cited by giving the impression that the Trump tidal wave of hate was growing bigger and bigger every day.

SPLC actually said the opposite. The incidents they compiled, from both direct website submission and news reporters, were dropping since Tuesday. “Fortunately, reports have been slowing down.”

Dramatically. The SPLC graph did not provide precise number. It tabulated by intervals of 25. It looks like 110 incidents were reported on Wednesday.

By Friday about 20.

And about those “hundreds” of swastikas Stelter cited.

SPLC cited 12, without stating or implying Trump’s supporters were responsible.