The Corner

National Security & Defense

Anatomy of a Smear

In the hours after the false missile alert in Hawaii, lots of folks online and in real life were asking themselves the same questions. “If an alert was real, what would I do? What should I do?” It was a busy news day, and I didn’t have much time, but I drafted a relatively short post designed to make some simple points. Nuclear strikes are not as destructive as many people imagine, and there are simple things you can do that can actually increase your chances of survival.

That was it. That was the purpose of the post. You can read it here.

In fact, on re-reading it, I’m slightly embarrassed. The post is so basic and simple that it barely scratches the surface of decent prepping. As something of an amateur prepper, I have thousands more words I could unleash. But this wasn’t a magazine piece. It was a blog post.

I wrote about it and forgot about until I got an alert on my phone. MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted this to her one million followers:

https://twitter.com/JoyAnnReid/status/953759909140627456

The piece went on to note that Trump voters tend to live outside cities. No person could read my post in good faith and conclude that I believed that nuclear war shouldn’t cause concern. No person could read my post in good faith and think that I was making a political point. Republicans and Democrats alike should have survival plans for emergencies. They should maintain basic stocks of supplies. They should understand the simple things that make it more likely they’ll survive the worst.

But whatever. There’s clickbait to write, and when there’s clickbait, then partisan smears aren’t far behind.

The strange part of this is I actually know Joy. We’ve talked, I’ve been on her show, and while I disagree with her politics, I’ve found her to be perfectly pleasant and civil. Others have had different experiences, unfortunately. But I’ll hold out a shred of hope. Perhaps she’ll actually read my post, realize her mistake, and apologize. If she does, I’m happy to forgive her and move on. Until then, MSNBC should know that one of its hosts is making things up. It’s a smear, pure and simple. There is no excuse.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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