Since Vivek Ramaswamy is a Republican, he got the usual “gotcha” grilling from CNN’s pit bull, Kaitlan Collins. Recall that Collins tried to humiliate Trump but ended up beclowning herself in her “disastrous” Townhall. In addition, when discussing the Trump audiotape, Collins states that Trump admits “in his own words” that he retained classified “documents” when, in fact, those are her words, not Trumps! With her usual accusatory tone when questioning conservatives, she claims that “What Ramaswamy said last night regarding his quotes to The Atlantic about 9/11 compared with the audio that disproves his claim that he was misquoted.” What he said is that “I think it is legitimate to say how many police, federal agents, were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers on 9/11.” Kaitlan responds: “To be clear, there is zero evidence that the US government had any agents on the planes on 9/11. So, I asked him to explain that quote.” Ironically, she then immediately misquotes him saying, “Are you telling me the quote is wrong because it says here [on the tape], ‘How many federal agents were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers?’”
If one can read at the high school level one can verify that is not what Ramaswamy said. The Ramaswamy quote from which she fabricates that question is an assertion, not a question, namely, his claim that it is legitimate to “say something” about the people on the planes that hit the Towers. Even if one grants that the word “say” in Ramaswamy’s statement means “question”, Ramaswamy is not himself asking that question. He is asserting the right to ask it. He is, so to speak, arguing for the First Amendment right to question media-government narratives.
Consider an analogy: Suppose a student in class asks whether actor Cary Grant was gay, which sets off a firestorm in the class. If the professor, who does not believe that Carey Grant gay responds, “I think it is legitimate to say [ask] whether Grant was gay,” s/he is not saying that Grant was gay or asking whether Grant was gay. S/he is, rather, making a higher-level statement about that students right to ask questions. It’s called the 1st amendment. One would have thought that a, so to speak, “journalist” would recognize this because in the distant past, before “journalists” became “Democrat Party” activists, they used to ask questions. For some mysterious reason Collins is outraged that Vivek is stating (not asking) that people have the right to ask “comprehensive” questions.
Collins then, with her usual sanctimony, plays the rest of the tape to give the context. Unfortunately, sanctimony is often inversely proportional to ability. In this part of the tape, Ramaswamy and the Atlantic reporter are discussing, not the truth about the planes that hit the Towers but rather the truth about January 6th. John Hendrickson asks, “What is the truth about January 6th?” Ramaswamy replies, “I don’t know. But we can handle it. Whatever it is. … How may government agents were in the field [on Jan. 6th]?” Hendrickson replies, “You mean entrapment?”. Ramaswamy replies, “Yeah! Absolutely. Why can the government not be transparent [about that day] … If we find that there were hundreds of our own [government agents] there in the ranks on the day that were there”. Hendrickson replies, “Well there’s a difference between entrapment and … a law-enforcement agent identifying—“. Ramaswamy admits he had entrapment in mind but proceeds to ask why the government cannot be transparent [about that]?” Again, Ramaswamy makes no assertion whatsoever about federal agents in the crowd. He merely asserts the right to ask the question.
At this point Ramaswamy shifts to talking, not about possible federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6th but about the planes that hit the Towers on 9/11,
I think it is legitimate to say: How many police [or] federal agents were on the planes that hit the Towers. … The answer is probably zero. But if we’re doing a comprehensive account of what happened on 9/11 … that [data] should be [given to] the public.
Collins, triumphantly, says, “You just heard it yourself. He was quoted accurately.” Collins does not specify what the “it” refers to but, apparently oblivious to her own earlier misquoting of Ramaswamy, takes this as obvious. Presumably she alludes to her earlier statement that Ramaswamy was suggesting some kind of conspiracy theory about the federal agents on the planes that hit the Towers or federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6th. Collins then displays a statement by Ramaswamy spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin who says that even this “snippit” proves Ramaswamy’s interpretation correct. Collins replies, “[She] did not state how Ramaswamy was taken out of context.”
McLaughlin is correct. Since Collins complains that she does not explain how Ramaswamy was taken out of context I provide it here. Ramaswamy is making an analogy between the issue of possible federal agents on the planes who hit the Towers on 9/11 and the issue of possible Federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6th. He is arguing that just as it is legitimate to ask the former question about federal agents on the planes on 9/11 it is also legitimate to raise the questions about the possibility of federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6th. That is, Ramaswamynowherein the tape makes any assertion about the presence of federal agents in the planes on 9/11 or in the crowd on Jan. 6th. He asserts no “conspiracy theory” because he asserts no theory at all about either event. Further, since Ramaswamy is making an analogy between federal agents in the planes that hit the Towers and federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6th, and since he explicitly says that he believes there were “probably” no federal agents on the planes on 9/11, the only reasonable inference is that he, at minimum, leaves open the possibility that there were no federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6th! There is nothing controversial here! He just wants to know the facts. Is that no longer allowed?
As so often, e.g., Erin Burnett’s vacuous attempt to make something out of nothing about Trump’s alleged “s***hole” comment or the Trump-Raffensberger phone call, the media always makes it look like conservatives said something appalling, but when one looks closely with a trained analytical eye, which these Lilliputians don’t have, there’s nothing there. Collins does not understand the logic of Ramaswamy’s argument. Indeed, most members of the media do not appear to have the conceptual resources to formulate a thesis or analyze an argument properly. Most “journalists” see statements impressionistically. If they like someone, they see his/her statements positively, even if s/he said nothing. If they dislike the someone, they see his/her views negatively, even if s/he made a cogent point.
In the present case, Ramaswamy nowhere on the tape states any theories whatsoever, let alone conspiracy theories, but only argues for the right to ask certain questions. Collins appears determined to prevent him from asking them. Isn’t asking questions their job? Why would “journalists” these days regard it as their job to prevent people from asking questions?
This is not a mystery. Like all “good” partisan authoritarians, they don’t want to hear the answers.
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