MSNBC host Joy Reid on Wednesday accused National Review‘s David French of being reckless on the matter of nuclear war because only "Democrats and minorities" would die if the United States were attacked.
Reid's argument stems from an article in Newsweek arguing that French, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, wrote an article telling readers "not to worry about a potential nuclear strike because they live in America’s suburbs and countryside."
French did not, in fact, say anyone should "not worry" about a nuclear attack, but rather gave practical advice on surviving a strike by North Korea. Reid nevertheless took Newsweek‘s piece at face value and tweeted it out, accusing National Review of being comfortable with Democrats and minorities being killed.
"The magazine in question is the once-august National Review," she tweeted. "We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, ‘don't worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities.' Shame on you, @DavidAFrench."
And the magazine in question is the once-august National Review. We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, "don't worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities." Shame on you, @DavidAFrench https://t.co/YARwfhRNRE
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 17, 2018
French gave a brief defense against Reid's charge on Twitter.
In the annals of misleading and ridiculous tweets, this takes the cake:
1. I did not argue in favor of risking nuclear war.
2. I never said anything like the words in those quotes.
3. I wrote only in favor of prepping for bad events.
Other than that, the tweet’s great. https://t.co/oWpXdnjOpD
— David French (@DavidAFrench) January 17, 2018
Others on Twitter have criticized Reid for sharing the story and insinuating that French is racist. National Review Online editor Charles C.W. Cooke called it a "disgusting lie."
This is a disgusting lie. David wrote no such thing, nor did he imply such a thing. I’d say this is beneath Joy Reid, but it’s not. How ugly is our politics that one day David has doctored photos of his mixed race family thrown at him, and the next he’s on the end of this. (1) pic.twitter.com/FRDhNQp8RL
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 17, 2018
No, Joy. Shame on you for thinking Raw Story would present what @DavidAFrench wrote in its proper context which has to do with the radius of a nuclear blast, not Democrats and Republicans.
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) January 17, 2018
Good heavens, did you even read it? Shameful mischaracterization.
— Nancy French (@NancyAFrench) January 17, 2018
The original article accusing French of being comfortable with a nuclear holocaust was written by Graham Lanktree, whose Twitter bio describes him as a "Canadian journalist in London reporting on US for @Newsweek." He characterized French's article as an argument not to have concerns about a direct nuclear strike.
"An article published Monday in the [sic] National Review reassures readers that nuclear war—and North Korea’s arsenal—shouldn’t cause them concern because even if a nuclear strike were to impact Manhattan directly, ‘the vast majority of New Yorkers would survive the initial blast,'" Lanktree wrote.
French's point was that a blast would not initially kill most in the outer boroughs of the city, which is accurate.
National Review‘s headquarters is in midtown Manhattan, making it unlikely that the "once-august" magazine would be "in favor" of such a strike.
UPDATED Thursday, 6:03 A.M.: Reid deleted her original tweet and sent another one stating her original take was "off track."
Taking back my take on this take – the @rawstory writeup doesn't reflect @DavidAFrench's intent and I think @Aunty__Em would probably agree. David and I disagree on almost everything, but my take on this was off track. https://t.co/YARwfhRNRE
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 18, 2018