East Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has a way with words.
In the past, he’s colorfully described fears of gay astronauts in potential space colonies and speculated that sex education amounts to a pornographic how-to manual. But many journalists on Wednesday attacked Gohmert for something he didn't say after he quoted a 2018 speech made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Here’s a quote: 'I just don't even know why there aren't more — aren't uprisings all over the country and maybe there will be,'” Gohmert said during President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing. He later specified that he was, in fact, citing Pelosi.
“Holy shit. Is Gohmer [sic] encouraging MORE 'uprisings'??!? Did I hear that right??????????" CNN analyst Asha Rangappa said in a tweet.
“You did. His testimony should be used to immediately expel him,” replied Law & Crime columnist Elura Nanos.
You did. His testimony should be used to immediately expel him.— Elura Nanos, Esq. (@EluraNanos) January 13, 2021
Naturally, Gohmert had a field day with the mix-up, pointing out in a tweet that the “alt-left media” believe Pelosi’s remarks could have incited violence.
To be fair, the man raises a good point, but he hasn’t exactly been the world’s greatest peacekeeper in the past.
Earlier this month, The Hill reported that a federal court’s rejection of Gohmert’s far-fetched lawsuit in which he sued Vice President Mike Pence in an attempt to overturn the election results, amounted to a call for “violence in the streets.” Of course, that call was answered when supporters of Trump attempted to overthrow the Capitol last week.
Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said the Pelosi debacle is an instance when Gohmert’s penchant for saying outrageous things has made it easier for journalists to misquote him. If anything, the misattribution reflects the “hyper-polarized and hypersensitive and knee-jerk climate we’re in.”
“This seems to be a case where the constant 24-hour news cycle and the immediacy of news got the better of any type of fact-checking,” Jones said.
Conservatives have long claimed that news outlets harbor a liberal bias, with Trump leading a resounding right-wing chorus decrying the “fake news media." But in one recent study by Science Advances, researchers learned there is no liberal bias in which news stories political journalists cover.
Many Republicans have been employing “whataboutism” in an attempt to downplay the insurrection, with some likening it to the violence that occurred during the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.
Yet a recent report found that 93% of Black Lives Matter protests have been peaceful. By contrast, counties that hosted a Trump rally in 2016 saw a 226% increase in hate crimes compared with those that didn’t, according to a 2019 report by The Washington Post.
The Jan. 6 Capitol invasion and last summer’s BLM protests are an imperfect comparison, Jones said. In the former, a sitting president encouraged a mob to stop the proceedings of another branch of government that was adverse to him.
“There’s a fundamental difference between citizen protests and a president using the fervor of a mob to disrupt the functioning of government in an attempt to bend it to his advantage,” Jones said. “I think that we’re in a situation where Gohmert’s point has some merit, but it also has some problems as well.”
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