October 30, 2023

Last week, Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a resolution that would censure Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib over Tlaib’s criticism of Israel. During her proposal, Greene accused Tlaib of “antisemitic activity, sympathizing with terrorist organizations and leading an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper wasn’t having it. He blasted away at Greene during a scorching commentary on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”

Tapper started by saying, “The degree to which some folks only pretend to care about antisemitism when they can weaponize it never ceases to amaze.”

Tapper talked about how former President Donald Trump has dined with Holocaust deniers and said, “This is the same Marjorie Taylor Greene who has pushed the great replacement theory in videos. The deranged notion that rich Jews are trying to replace white Americans and Westerners with Blacks and brown Muslims. Not to mention, of course, her Jewish space laser conspiracy that a consortium including, yes, wealthy Jews, were using lasers on satellites to start forest fires.”

He mentioned the times Greene “belittled the Holocaust,” like when she compared President Joe Biden to Hitler and called him “Nazi Joe,” and when she compared mask mandates inside the Capitol Building to Jews being forced onto trains and transported to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.

Tapper then told viewers that they were never going to believe who the Republican was who put forth the measure to censure Tlaib. Of course, the answer is Greene.

“And it gets worse,” Tapper said, “because when you read Greene’s resolution, you realize it is a) written by someone who seems to have learned about the Arab-Israeli conflict maybe 10 minutes before who maybe didn’t even have access to Wikipedia, and b) while there are plenty of valid criticisms of Congresswoman Tlaib, this resolution twists a bunch of things that she’s said beyond recognition, and c) the resolution seems much more focused on Jan. 6 than it does on Oct. 7.”

Tapper then showed peaceful protests and said, “Throughout its pages, Marjorie Taylor Greene describes this act of civil disobedience from a bunch of left-wing Jewish groups that are critical of Israel’s government, this act as an insurrection. … This is not an insurrection. It might be a bunch of folks with whom you disagree. It might be a bunch of people who you think are misguided, acting in a way you don’t like. But this is not an insurrection.”

Tapper then said, “Antisemitism is not a cudgel to be used against people for political points, nor is Islamophobia or racism or anti-gay behavior or misogyny or any other kind of bigotry. Just over three weeks ago, 1,400 people, mostly Jews, mostly civilians, were slaughtered here in some of the cruelest and most unimaginable ways in the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”

He then cursed on air, saying, “This (expletive) is not a game.”

Sad news

Actor Matthew Perry, shown here in November of 2022. Perry died at his home in Los Angeles on Saturday. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Stunning and sad news over the weekend as actor Matthew Perry was, reportedly, found dead in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home. He was 54.

The Los Angeles Times’ Richard Winton, Matt Brennan and Connor Sheets reported, “No drugs were found at the scene, sources said, but a source told The Times prescription medications were recovered at the home and hence toxicology will be part of the investigation. A representative for Perry did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.”

The Los Angeles Police said foul play was not suspected and that the cause of death “may not be known for some time.”

Perry was best known for playing the sarcastic Chandler Bing on the hugely popular NBC sitcom “Friends” from 1994 to 2004. He also appeared in movies such as “Fools Rush In” with Salma Hayek and “The Whole Nine Yards” with Bruce Willis.

And while “Friends” is, by far, what he is best known for, I offer up my favorite show that he was on: the very underrated “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which ran for just one season of 22 episodes on NBC from 2006 to 2007. Created by Aaron Sorkin, the hourlong comedy-drama was a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional network sketch show. Think “Saturday Night Live.” The ensemble cast included Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Sarah Paulson, D. L. Hughley, Steven Weber and Timothy Busfield. If you could get past some of the usual Sorkin smart-aleck dialogue, it was a heck of a show and Perry was terrific in it.

Meanwhile, some pieces of note about Perry:

He is back

American democracy seems in a perilous spot these days, but during a guest appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, former California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told moderator Kristen Welker that U.S. democracy has “always been vulnerable.”

He said, “I think it’s always been vulnerable. I mean, don’t forget that when I came over to America in the ’60s, there was — President Kennedy was assassinated, Robert Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King was assassinated. There was violence beyond belief at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, where people were clubbed to death and attacked and all of that stuff by the police. There was the Vietnam War. There were wars going on. So, I mean, there was total madness and somehow — and there was Watergate right after that — so, somehow, we came out of all that because there was a leader that was sane and that showed great leadership, which was Ronald Reagan. … Our image was horrible worldwide and he brought it back. I think this is what we need. We just don’t know yet who this person is that could do that.”

Asked who he thinks highly of, Schwarzenegger said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, adding, “Joe Manchin is one of them that I think stands out because he is kind of like a center guy. He comes from an energy state, but he’s a Democrat. So he knows the challenges and all that. But he’s one of the guys that I think is really a great force. But there’s many others.”

Asked if he still feels at home in the Republican Party, Schwarzenegger said, “Absolutely. When I go up to Capitol Hill and I meet with my Republican colleagues, I have a great time meeting with them and talking about the environment and talking about the important issues and all that stuff. I don’t look at them as kind of crazies like some people do. There are some people that are extreme. But there’s no reason to villainize anybody.”

A new look at an old clip

Jenna Ellis speaks with her attorney Franklin Hogue after Ellis pleaded guilty to a felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings, in Atlanta last week. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)

Jenna Ellis, one of the Trump lawyers who pushed to overturn the 2020 presidential election, recently, through tears, pleaded guilty in Georgia to one felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings.

Media journalist Brian Stelter retweeted a clip from his old “Reliable Sources” show on CNN from June of 2020 when Ellis attacked the media, calling it the “fake news media” while speaking glowingly about Trump.

Stelter tried to interrupt Ellis by saying, “You understand like someday you’re going to regret this, right?”

He went on to say, “Some day you’re going to regret this, when your kids and your grandkids look back at this time, and you used slurs and smear us as fake news to hurt news outlets. … I think in 10 or 20 years if we just sit down and talk about this, you’re going to realize how damaging it was …”

(The Trump campaign demanded an apology following the interview.) It looks like it didn’t even take four years for Ellis to regret her words. And her guilty plea could be really bad news for Trump in his Georgia case.

Norman Eisen, co-author of a Brookings report on the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney’s Trump investigation; and Amy Lee Copeland, a criminal defense and appellate lawyer in Georgia; wrote a guest essay for The New York Times on Sunday that said, “Ms. Ellis’s likely trial testimony will also hit Mr. Trump hard. She has now effectively repudiated his claims that he won the election — an argument that is expected to be a centerpiece of his trial defense. Coming from a formerly outspoken MAGA champion, her disagreement has the potential to resonate with jurors. It also builds on substantial other evidence against the former president, which includes voluminous witness testimony collected by the House Jan. 6 committee indicating that many advisers told him the election was not stolen — and that in private he repeatedly admitted as much.”

They added, “Ms. Ellis’s testimony may also compromise one of Mr. Trump’s main defenses. He has made clear he intends to claim he relied on advice of counsel. But that defense is available only if the lawyers are not part of the alleged crimes. Ms. Ellis’s plea puts her squarely within the conspiracy.”

Media tidbits

  • Oh, one other interesting tweet from Stelter on Sunday, talking about newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson: “The new House speaker eschewed all the traditional Sunday morning newsmaker TV shows and opted for a safer space: Maria Bartiromo’s MAGA talk show.”
  • NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde is among those featured in Time Magazine’s list of Latino Leaders reshaping their industries and the country. Talking about diversity inside the company and in its coverage, Conde tells Time’s Brian Bennett, “At the end of the day, this is not just the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do for our business.”
  • The NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube shows all the NFL games to subscribers. But there were major buffering issues for some on Sunday. Awful Announcing’s Michael Dixon has more.
  • The NFL Network is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. Here’s a retrospective.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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