On Friday evening, President Trump was in Ohio and pandered to the locals by recalling a couple of famous Ohioans: William McKinley and Ulysses Grant. While the history around the two, as recited by President Trump, was arguable, what happened next is without argument. NBC News launched a calculated smear of President Trump claiming that he used his speech to praise Robert E. Lee when, in fact, he only mentioned Lee as a way of praising Grant.

This is from my Saturday post: Media Slams President Trump for Praising Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant:

https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/1050901081537073155

It also gave you a general who was incredible. He drank a little bit too much. You know who I’m talking about, right? So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee. He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home and said, “I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.” And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point, they were the greatest people. There was only one problem, they didn’t know how the hell to win.

But when you look at the actual speech, you can see that NBC “selectively edited” the video to cut the punchline and change the entire focus of the story. Here is the speech. I’ve transcribed all but the last 0:10 and you can see that this is an homage to Lincoln and to Grant, the guys who won the Civil War. I’ve bolded the NBC segment so you can see what was cut.

Ohio is the state that gave us a great president who hasn’t been properly recognized. William McKinley. He has not been properly recognized. What he did in terms of trade, in terms of war, but in terms of trade, and I hate to say it, in terms of being smart in tariffs, William McKinley has not been properly recognized. But maybe someday he will.

It also gave you a general who was incredible. He drank a little bit too much. You know who I’m talking about, right? So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee. He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home and said, “I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.” And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point, they were the greatest people. There was only one problem, they didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how. And one day, it was looking really bad. And Lincoln just said, “You,” hardly knew his name. And they said, “Don’t take him. He’s got a drinking problem.” And Lincoln said, “I don’t care what problem he has, you guys aren’t winning.” And his name was Grant. General Grant. And he went in and he knocked the hell out of everyone. And you know the story. They said to Lincoln, “You can’t use him anymore, he’s an alcoholic.” And Lincoln said, “I don’t care if he’s an alcoholic, frankly, give me six or seven more just like him.”

Trump complained.

And eventually NBC issued a correction:

Two things to keep in mind when considering this story.

First, the original clip was deliberately edited to miss the point of what Trump was saying. This was not an accident. Anyone involved with the story knew what Trump said after the point where NBC decided to clip the video. The reason is clear. The media is still obsessed with the Charlottesville demonstration in 2017 that centered about the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. So a Lee reference was used by NBC to successfully create a lot of talk over the weekend, as a midterm approaches, about Trump and the GOP being neo-Confederates.

Second, NBC/MSBNC ran the story extensively and they waited nearly two days to correct the story.

This is not good faith. This is milking the negative narrative to the point where it has become embarrassing to NBC and then they correct the story so they can say, “we corrected our error.” The damage has been done. The saving grace here is that NBC might end up being the one that is damaged.

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