Brian Williams Gripes: Why Do Conservatives Have to Always Say ‘Communist China?’

MSNBC’s The 11th Hour host Brian Williams burned all sorts of strawmen on Friday night when he accused people “in the cheap seats” and in conservative media of agitating for war with China and even sounded like a Chinese apologist when he griped that there are some who refer to China as “communist China.”

Accordingly, Williams was confused why people may not view China that favorably.

Williams’s remarks came during a segment with former retired Admiral and former NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis where Stavridis offered a blunt assessment of U.S.-China relations in the wake of the summit in Anchorage: “I hate to say it, but we’re in a cold war with China. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn hot.”

 

 

This led Williams to wonder, “Why am I seeing so many people in the cheap seats? And that, by the way, is the definition of Twitter, the cheap seats, talking up some kind of a confrontation? War with China?” Those in the cheap seats, according to Williams, included conservatives and those on Twitter.

But wait, there’s more! Williams got even more ludicrous and offered a line one could utter on the English-language version of Chinese state TV: “Why, as I mentioned last night, have we seen just in the last two weeks, mentions especially on the right in the media of people only calling it Communist China, like when you and I were growing up?”

With this take, Williams was alluding to a Thursday segment where Mark McKinnon told him that GOP concerns about China exist because the GOP needs a boogeyman to scare people. 

Fortunately for Friday viewers, the retired admiral, who’s not exactly a right-winger, gave more adult response than the disgraced former NBC Nightly News anchor:

Because of the spectrum of contentious issues between the two nations and you heard Tony Blinken, who you and I both know well. He is balanced, sensible, hardly on the right. Yet on public cameras, he talks about treatment of Uyghurs as a genocide, that China’s preposterous claims to own the entire South China Sea, a body of water, Brian, that’s half the size of the continental United States. It’s enormous. The crackdown of human rights in Hong Kong, theft of intellectual property, the recent cyber hacks, I could go on and on. This is real, and can we still avoid a conflict? Absolutely. But if we don’t measure the distance between us, we can never close it.

Stavridis could also have mentioned that it is not “talking up” war to warn of the possibility of war with China is higher than its ever been.

That’s not right-wing media talking, that’s the military’s top man in the region talking.

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Here is the relevant transcript:

MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams
March 19, 2021
11:44 p.m. Eastern

JAMES STAVRIDIS:  I hate to say it, but we’re in a cold war with China. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn hot. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Why am I seeing so many people in the cheap seats? And that, by the way, is the definition of Twitter, the cheap seats, talking up some kind of a confrontation? War with China? Why, as I mentioned last night, have we seen just in the last two weeks, mentions especially on the right in the media of people only calling it Communist China, like when you and I were growing up? 

STAVRDIDS: Because of the spectrum of contentious issues between the two nations and you heard Tony Blinken, who you and I both know well. He is balanced, sensible, hardly on the right. Yet on public cameras, he talks about treatment of Uyghurs as a genocide, that China’s preposterous claims to own the entire South China Sea, a body of water, Brian, that’s half the size of the continental United States. It’s enormous. The crackdown of human rights in Hong Kong, theft of intellectual property, the recent cyber hacks, I could go on and on. This is real, and can we still avoid a conflict? Absolutely. But if we don’t measure the distance between us, we can never close it. 

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