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EDITORIAL: This Week In Stupid Questions, Stupid Answers And Hot Takes

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Talking points, assemble! An IG report debunked claims that former President Donald Trump ordered protesters cleared — violently, if necessary – from Lafayette Park, but some of his loudest critics just can’t quit the narrative.

The 24-hour news cycle — coupled with thousands of media outlets and a gradual return from pandemic boredom to a somewhat normal life — makes it all but impossible for anyone to truly stay abreast of all the news.

So here it is, the week that was:

  • Politico pitted CNN’s Jake Tapper against Fox’s Chris Wallace over who would and would not interview guests who supported former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud. “It’s not a policy, but it’s a philosophy where I just don’t want to deal with it,” Tapper said. Wallace took a different tack, saying, “I don’t think moral posturing goes well with news gathering … I cover the news, wherever that takes me.”
  • Facebook extended its Trump ban for at least two years, prompting an angry response from the former president — who is also banned on Twitter. “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said in a statement. “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
  • Piers Morgan is not finished criticizing the Duchess of Sussex. “I don’t believe a word she says,” Morgan told “60 Minutes Australia” in a recent interview.
  • Late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel referred to Florida as “America’s North Korea” and mocked Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over a python-hunting contest in the Everglades.
  • Fox New host Greg Gutfeld blamed media for focusing on “impeachment theater” while the coronavirus pandemic gained a foothold in the United States. “They did not do any legwork to dismiss the [lab leak] theory. They preferred to mock those who mentioned the theory as either stupid or racist. They kind of replaced their journalism with an anti-Trump fervor that caused them to miss perhaps the biggest story of their lives,” Gutfeld concluded. “Instead, they chose impeachment theater as the disease exploded because they wanted the optics, and because of that, hundreds of thousands of people died.
  • Fox News contributor Marie Harf claimed that Republicans — and Trump allies in particular — had failed to handle the coronavirus pandemic and were only using White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci as a “punching bag” to deflect from those failures.
  • CNN’s Brian Stelter redefined the term “softball” during his exclusive interview with White House press secretary Jen Psaki. While he had access to the spokeswoman for arguably the most powerful man in the world, he chose to ask what the press could do better and whether or not she had learned a lot while she was working for his network.
  • Journalist Glenn Greenwald responded by torching Stelter, saying that interview should be taught in journalism school as an example of state-controlled television. “It’s one of the most sycophantic interviews of a state official you’ll ever see. This is how state TV functions,” he tweeted.
  • Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for telling Guatemalan refugees not to come through Mexico to the United States’ southern border.
  • VP Harris drew criticism after blowing off her own failure to visit the border during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. “And I haven’t been to Europe,” she said. “I don’t understand the point you’re making.”
  • New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay claimed that when she saw Trump flags and even large numbers of American flags, it “disturbed” her because it reminded her that white Trump voters could not separate the idea of “Americanness” from “whiteness.”
  • “The View” host Sunny Hostin agreed with Gay’s assessment, although she did note exceptions for military neighborhoods or holidays like July 4. “When I drive into a neighborhood and it’s not July 4th and I’m not in a predominantly military household neighborhood and there are flags, American flags, everywhere, alongside Trump flags, alongside flags with stars in a circle, I feel threatened,” she said.
  • Fauci proclaimed that attacks against him were really attacks against science. “Science and the truth are under attack,” he told “Meet the Press Daily” host Chuck Todd.
  •  The Inspector General’s report detailing how and why protesters were cleared from Lafayette Park determined that former President Donald Trump had not given the order — in fact, contractors had been given approval to clear the park and install anti-scale fencing before anyone knew Trump intended to make an appearance in the area. Still, his critics held onto the narrative.
  • And just to put the final nail in this wild week, CNN brought back senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin for an extremely uncomfortable segment about his forced sabbatical and the zoom-call masturbation session that cost him is job at The New Yorker.