By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published June 20, 2019
MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd has been receiving strong condemnation from the left over his remarks slamming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, for her repeated claim that the U.S. government is "running concentration camps" along the southern border.
The "Meet The Press" moderator condemned Ocasio-Cortez's assertion, saying that the detention centers holding migrants and concentration camps are "not at all comparable in the slightest" and insisted that she was doing a "tremendous disservice" to migrants at the border by invoking the Holocaust.
Todd, who serves as NBC News' political director, sparked a ton of backlash on social media among progressives as well as from fellow liberal journalists. The Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan" claimed that Todd's argument "makes no sense" since he "conceded" that Ocasio-Cortez didn't refer to "Nazi death camps." Crooked Media's editor-in-chief Brian Beutler called Todd's monologue a "disgrace" and accused him "misinforming his viewers" for not mentioning the history of concentration camps that predate the Holocaust.
Hollywood actor Adam Scott insisted that Todd was "downplaying the atrocity" at the southern border with an argument about "semantics." Filmmaker Judd Apatow also condemned the monologue.
Other critics called him an "intellectually vacant lightweight," a "coward," and mourned the passing of Todd's "Meet The Press" predecessor Tim Russert, enough so that his name began trending on Twitter.
Todd, meanwhile, was being defended by many conservatives, including The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech, who told his followers that the cable news host "reacted like a rational person" and declaring that he was "right."
The cable news host had taken a moment on Wednesday's show to address the controversy that has riled up both conservatives and liberals alike.
"You can call our government's detention of migrants many things depending on how you see it; it's a stain on on our nation maybe, an unnecessary evil to others, a deal with an untenable situation perhaps. But do you know what you can't call it?" Todd asked his viewers Wednesday before playing a clip from Ocasio-Cortez's Instagram livestream.
The "Meet The Press" moderator explained that it's a "fair" argument for the freshman congresswoman to later distinguish the difference between concentration camps and Nazi death camps, but told her that "tens of thousands were brutalized, tortured, starved, and ultimately died" at concentration camps.
"If you want to criticize the shameful treatment of people on our southern border, fine. You'll have plenty of company, but be careful comparing them to Nazi concentration camps because they're not at all comparable in the slightest," Todd warned Ocasio-Cortez.
Todd also called Democrats failing to condemn Ocasio-Cortez's remarks equally as "upsetting," saying they "don't want to get criticized on Twitter" and pointed to the defense of House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, as an example.
"Why are we so sheepish to call out people we agree with politically these days?" Todd wondered as he pointed out that both Democrats and Republicans have such a problem. "Are we really so ensconced in our political bubbles, liberal versus conservative, that we cannot talk about right versus wrong anymore? Some things are bigger than partisanship."
He later added that the New York representative did a "tremendous disservice" to the migrants at the border by "distracting from their plight."
Ocasio-Cortez had a sharp rebuke of the liberal news anchor, doubling down on her defense that she never used the word "Nazi" in her livestream despite invoking the "never again" saying that has direct ties to the Holocaust as well as accusing the Trump presidency of being "fascist."
"The fact that you slipped in 'Nazi' when I never said that is pretty unfortunate," the Democratic congresswoman responded. "Almost as unfortunate as the fact that you spent this whole time w/o discussing DHS freezers, 'dog pounds,' missing children, & human rights abuses that uphold use of this term."
Todd's MSNBC colleague Chris Hayes had the opposite reaction to Ocasio-Cortez's remarks and defended her repeatedly on Twitter, but was later called out by the Auschwitz Memorial, who suggested that the host "educate" himself about the atrocities of concentration camps.
NBC News did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.