Friedman: Fox News Gave Trump Supporters ‘Permission’ to Be Terrorists

While praising President-elect Joe Biden as being the one to bring the country together on CNN’s Cuomo PrimeTime Tuesday, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman proved he wasn’t about that. After once describing Republicans as un-American whores putting a bullet in the country and “biggest threat to our democracy since the Civil War,” he took to asserting that Fox News had given “permission” to Trump supporters so they could become extremists like radical Islamist suicide bombers.

I really draw on the experience now these days of the whole war against Muslim extremism after 9/11. And I tell you the biggest thing I learned from that. That you need a war of ideas and it’s got to come from within,” he proclaimed after saying he was “hopeful” Biden would bring us together.

He recalled speaking to “Israeli experts” immediately after 9/11 and asking them about what they learned about fighting suicide bombers. Apparently, they told him that the community needed to take away permission to be radical. “That is, if the wider community says no that’s not actually martyrdom that’s murder, that’s when it starts to change,” he explained.

And according to Friedman, not only did Trump give his supporters that permission, but Fox News as well. And a war needed to be waged against them:

We need to take that permission away. Just Trump leaving will be at the beginning of that. But the ecosystem, the Fox News permission givers, the whole ecosystem has to say this is off. This is wrong. You are not proud boys, you’re dumb boys. It has to come from within the right and that is what we all have to be calling for as journalists, as politicians, and, Chris, as business leaders.

The American business community has got to tell every one of these shows if you are promoting a big lie, we are taking the money away. That’s what a war of ideas is all about,” he exclaimed.

Of course, Chris “Fredo” Cuomo agreed with everything his guest was spewing. Playing Devil’s advocate, the family business, Fredo wondered, “How do you distinguish between the ugly, who we need to ignore and disempower, and the rest of the 74 million that voted for Trump,” and “How do you deal with people feeling they’ve been made an enemy?”

And in doing so, Cuomo lashed out at Fox News with the predictable “state news” line:

Because, as you well know over, on state news and all the fringe outlets they’re playing two songs right now already. One? Immigration, immigration. Biden’s letting them all in. Here they come, here are the marauding hordes, the brown menace. And they hate all of you. They think you’re all bigots. Now, one of those we’ve dealt with before. The other one is very powerful.

But it seems as though CNN was already embracing the role they condemned. Because earlier in the day, CNN political director David Chalian oozed for Biden, suggesting the inauguration lights were like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”

Then, with Friedman claiming that Democrats weren’t “deliberately ignoring [rural] parts of the country,” the two went back and forth about what Biden could do to appeal to rural America and if liberals would freak out if he did (Click “expand”):

FRIEDMAN: The other huge factor here, Chris, and you saw it in the electoral map. In every one of these states, what did we see? urban centers blue. The whole rest of the state red. And somehow Biden — And I think he is well-positioned to do this, he’s got to go out there to these rural areas, listen to these people. To me he –

CUOMO: Then he gets attacked, Tom. He gets attacked by the left who says land doesn’t vote and why would you go and cater to the minority who just cottoned to one of the worst presidents in history, if not the worst. Worry about us. We put you in office.

FRIEDMAN: Well, I don’t think it has to be either/or. By the way, when you bring broadband to rural America you also create enormous opportunities for urban dwellers who actually want to live in rural, comfortable places and get out of cities. This is a positive-sum game. But Democrats don’t want to go through another election where the entire rural part of America is red. And it’s not that, you know, they’re deliberately ignoring these parts of the country.

“Trump didn’t do anything for them during the last four years. But this to me is a huge opportunity for Biden,” Friedman touted.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CNN’s Cuomo PrimeTime
January 19, 2021
9:29:39 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO: So, let’s be honest with each other here. What happens tomorrow? Can we really turn a new leaf? Is a change of president enough to cause a change in the state of this country? Let’s discuss where we are and where we can go. New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman. Author of the best seller Thank You for Being Late. Good to see you, brother. How you feeling this eve?

TOM FREIDMAN: Good to be with you, Chris. And I’m feeling hopeful. I watched President-elect Biden and, you know, Vice President-Elect Harris give that address today in Washington. There was something beautiful about it. And it just reminds you what happens when you turn the noise machine down. And you get two people – two decent people who are just trying to figure it out and lead by bringing people together and not by dividing and enraging. So, I am feeling hopeful. I know, it’s going to be a long slog, though, Chris.

I really draw on the experience now these days of the whole war against Muslim extremism after 9/11. And I tell you the biggest thing I learned from that. That you need a war of ideas and it’s got to come from within.

So, what do I mean by that? I was actually in Israel on 9/11. And I sat down with Israeli experts after that and asked them. “what have you learned most about suicide bombers?” And they said, “what we’ve really learned is that, you know, we can catch one, we can catch another, but the third will get through unless the village says ‘no.’” That is, if the wider community says no that’s not actually martyrdom that’s murder, that’s when it starts to change.

And what we need here — what Donald Trump brought us, Chris, was so unusual about his presidency is that he gave permission for some of the ugliest voices and ugliest trends and ugliest thoughts in our society to come out, to feel comfortable. And it all came to a climax in the Capitol.

We need to take that permission away. Just Trump leaving will be at the beginning of that. But the ecosystem, the Fox News permission givers, the whole ecosystem has to say this is off. This is wrong. You are not proud boys, you’re dumb boys. It has to come from within the right and that is what we all have to be calling for as journalists, as politicians, and, Chris, as business leaders. The American business community has got to tell every one of these shows if you are promoting a big lie, we are taking the money away. That’s what a war of ideas is all about.

CHRIS: How do you distinguish between the ugly, who we need to ignore and disempower, and the rest of the 74 million that voted for Trump? Because, as you well know over, on state news and all the fringe outlets they’re playing two songs right now already. One? Immigration, immigration. Biden’s letting them all in. Here they come, here are the marauding hordes, the brown menace. And they hate all of you. They think you’re all bigots.

Now, one of those we’ve dealt with before. The other one is very powerful. How do you deal with people feeling they’ve been made an enemy?

FRIEDMAN: You know, Chris, there’s no question that if you listen to the voices of some of those people in the Capitol on January 6 for them 90 percent of this is about race and the other 10 percent is about race. Okay?

These are people who are simply resistant to the fact we are in the process of moving from a white-majority Christian-dominated country to a minority majority country. Some of them are not going to be redeemable. We’re just going to have to wait for them to be reconciled.

But there is a whole other group of people there, Chris. People who are on the wrong side of the divide. You know, Ray Dalio has written about this from Bridgewater. You know, 40 percent of America has actually done pretty well since 1980. 60 percent of America hasn’t had a raise. That’s just not on. We can’t sustain that. For those people, the country’s not working.

The other huge factor here, Chris, and you saw it in the electoral map. In every one of these states, what did we see? urban centers blue. The whole rest of the state red. And somehow Biden — And I think he is well-positioned to do this, he’s got to go out there to these rural areas, listen to these people. To me he –

CUOMO: Then he gets attacked, Tom. He gets attacked by the left who says land doesn’t vote and why would you go and cater to the minority who just cottoned to one of the worst presidents in history, if not the worst. Worry about us. We put you in office.

FRIEDMAN: Well, I don’t think it has to be either/or. By the way, when you bring broadband to rural America you also create enormous opportunities for urban dwellers who actually want to live in rural, comfortable places and get out of cities. This is a positive-sum game.

But Democrats don’t want to go through another election where the entire rural part of America is red. And it’s not that, you know, they’re deliberately ignoring these parts of the country. Trump didn’t do anything for them during the last four years. But this to me is a huge opportunity for Biden.

(…)

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