The White House has overreached in trying to put distance between President Donald Trump and the suspected New Zealand mosque shooter’s white supremacist manifesto, which mentions the president by name.
On “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway invited all Americans to read the entirety of the 74-page manifesto, which is a winding and bigoted piece of propaganda whose stated goal is to indoctrinate its readers and dog-whistle fellow extremists.
Conway was apparently trying to prove that the man accused of killing at least 50 people in the name of white nationalism didn’t claim any allegiance to Trump. Instead, she pointed Fox & Friends’ 1.4 million daily viewers toward a piece of racist propaganda and then defended the killer as “not a Nazi.”
“Everybody scoured it, searched for Donald Trump’s name, and there it is one time, but [the shooter] also said he aligns closely with the ideology of China. He’s not a Nazi. I think he referred to himself as an eco-naturalist or an eco-fascist,” she said, as Media Matters’ Bobby Lewis first reported. “People should read it in its entirety.”
Kellyanne Conway says "people should read the entire" New Zealand shooter's manifesto, so they understand Trump did not inspire the attack. pic.twitter.com/YDsFTTtBuG— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) March 18, 2019
Many mainstream news organizations opted to forgo publishing the manifesto in its entirety not because it bears some truth about Trump’s history with racism and white supremacists but because there is no news value in giving a platform to such rhetoric. Outlets that published it were panned.
In any case, the manifesto doesn’t offer the insight about Trump that Conway is implying; rather, it hails the president and other conservative leaders and talking heads as protectors of white supremacy. Trump’s influence on and tacit endorsement of white supremacist views has been reported on for years, and it’s telling that the president might need an accused mass shooter’s words to exonerate him.
Conway’s appeal — and a call to read the suspected killer’s manifesto — was offered to a potential audience of millions. Fox & Friends has been the No. 1 cable news broadcast in its time slot for 207 months, according to TV Newser.
Clarification: Language has been amended to clarify that Fox & Friends is first in its time slot among cable news broadcasts, not all news broadcasts.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.