Written by UAF Contributor Jane Darcy
Former chair of psychiatry at Duke University Allen Frances made outlandish claims on Brian Stelter’s struggling news show Reliable Sources Sunday.
The segment with Dr. Frances participated in was supposed to be addressing the diagnosis of President Trump’s mental capacity from observing him publicly rather than during a formal examination. Diagnosing a public figure from afar is considered highly unprofessional. The segment went wildly off the rails when Dr. Frances made the following comment:
“Calling Trump crazy hides the fact that we’re crazy for having elected him and even crazier for allowing his crazy policies to persist,” Frances said. “Trump is as destructive a person in this century as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were in the last century. He may be responsible for many more million deaths than they were. He needs to be contained but he needs to be contained by attacking his policies, not his person.”
It is well known that Hitler was responsible for the deaths of 11 million people during the holocaust, but far fewer realize the impact dictators such as Stalin and Mao had. There are varying statistics for how many deaths Russian dictator Stalin was responsible, the range being between 3 million and 60 million. Statistics for Chinese dictator Mao Zedong are generally thought to be 40 million, but many believe this is greatly underreported.
CNN widely touts itself as being the most trusted news source in television news, and yet Mr. Stelter made no move to fact check his guest’s claims. In a tweet Sunday, Brian Stelter blamed technical difficulties for his failure to comment:
“I agree that I should have interrupted after that line. I wish I had heard him say it, but I was distracted by tech difficulties (that’s why the show open didn’t look the way it normally does, I had two computers at the table, etc). Not hearing the comment is my fault.”
President Trump coined the term “Fake News” during the 2016 Presidential campaign in response to the reporting news organizations such as CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post had engaged in. It seems as though his characterization, of CNN at least, was not far off base.