NBC Gaslighting on Crime: Fear ‘Fueled’ ‘By Videos’ Not ‘Reality’

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With Election Day just four days away, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester “Fairness Is Overrated” Holt was desperate to keep Democrats afloat. So desperate that his last option on Friday was to tell Americans not to trust their lying eyes and ears and that the nationwide crime wave didn’t actually exist. He openly scoffed at Republican campaign messages and suggested fears of crime were not “fueled” by “reality” but rather “by videos,” as if they weren’t real. And he leans on a “civil rights attorney” he failed to disclose was a liberal activist.

As is Holt’s way, he opened the segment with one of his holier-than-thou lectures. “As candidates fine-tune their closing messages ahead of Tuesday’s vote, an issue finding traction for many campaigns is voter worries about crime. But as we found, the state of crime in America is not always what it appears to be,” he began.

At the top of the video report he filed, Holt lamented that “fear is on the ballot. Crime now the centerpiece of campaigns across the country.” He then played a soundbite of New York Congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin campaigning to crack down on crime. But Holt openly scoffed, saying, “[Fear] fueled, some argue, not by reality but by videos of rampant lawlessness … and some unsettling headlines.”

Is Holt saying the viral videos showing swarms of people looting stores, people getting pushed onto subway tracks, carjackings, and drive-bys are all fake? Does he think they’re staged? Zeldin was nearly assassinated at a campaign event and his family was almost shot in their home. He knows first-hand that crime is a problem in New York.

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Holt then introduced us to Alec Karakatsanis, who he described as a “civil rights attorney.” Karakatsanis suggested the crime message was “an attempt by the right-wing to scare people into unwinding certain very smaller forms.” And according to him, and by extension Holt, since he doesn’t push back, “Any candidate who tells you that bail reform is causing crime is lying to you.”

Karakatsanis also argues that putting people in jail after they commit a crime actually makes society less safe. “We know from a wealth of scientific evidence that keeping people in jail, even for a few days after their arrest actually makes us less safer [sic],” he proclaimed without sharing any of that purported evidence.

And as you’ve probably deduced by now, Holt wasn’t entirely forthcoming with who Karakatsanis was. He’s the founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps, a far-left-wing group that advocates for destructive bail reform policies. Holt also never addressed why, if this was only a right-wing concern, liberal San Francisco voted to recall progressive DA Chesa Boudin because of his bail reform policies.

For the opposite opinion, Holt looked to former big city police commissioner Bill Bratton. When asked by Holt, “Is there a quantifiable link between cashless bail and an increase in crime?” Bratton tried to play both sides of the prison fence. “Depends on who is advocating for what. You can use the statistics to tell one story or tell another. Myself, I believe it has had an impact. It may take us more time to clearly define it,” he said.

Bratton also went on to whine about how crime was being talked about on the campaign trail. “In this current election cycle locally and nationally, it has become a weapon. We’re dealing with fear. And I sense that the fear now is higher,” he said.

But he wasn’t always so wishy-washy on condemning progressive bail reform policies. In early October, while speaking to NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo, Bratton said “criminal justice reform DAs” are responsible for most of America’s crime epidemic. Noting that “crime in America right now is politically created. What they’re proposing and what they’re implementing is just not working.”

Lester Holt’s attempt to lie about the nationwide crime wave was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from TD Ameritrade and Ensure. Their contact information is linked.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC Nightly News
November 4, 2022
7:19:29 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: As candidates fine-tune their closing messages ahead of Tuesday’s vote, an issue finding traction for many campaigns is voter worries about crime. But as we found, the state of crime in America is not always what it appears to be.

[Cuts to video]

HOLT: Tonight, fear is on the ballot. Crime now the centerpiece of campaigns across the country.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY) (via gubernatorial campaign ad): Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

HOLT: Fueled, some argue, not by reality but by videos of rampant lawlessness.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They smash glass display cases, filled their bags with jewelry, then took off.

HOLT: And some unsettling headlines.

ALEC KARAKATSANIS: I see an attempt by the right-wing to scare people into unwinding certain very smaller forms.

HOLT: Alec Karakatsanis is a civil rights attorney.

You know, when I pick up a tabloid and hear about somebody being pushed on the subway or assaulted on the street, that’s real and it’s scary.

KARAKATSANIS: Let me say this. If you look at the police and FBI reported crime rates, we are at near historic lows in the country. Crime has been falling since the 1990s.

HOLT: Here’s what we know. A flurry of data from 2021 and 2022 is conflicting and incomplete. But one recent survey from the recent Major Cities Chiefs Association shows a slight decrease in murders in America’s biggest cities so far this year compared to last. While robbery and aggravated assault have seen a slight uptick.

Numbers aside, stories of people committing crimes after being arrested and released have fueled one major issue that you have probably heard a lot about: bail reform.

CAMPAIGN AD: Kathleen Hochul, she passed some of the toughest gun laws in America and strengthened bail laws.

DEBATE MODERATOR:  Do you believe in ending cash bail, Mr. Maloney?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Absolutely, and I would make it a top policy.

NRCC CAMPAIGN AD: Released because of the cashless bail policy pushed by Josh Riley’s extreme allies.

KARAKATSANIS: Any candidate who tells you that bail reform is causing crime is lying to you. We know from a wealth of scientific evidence that keeping people in jail, even for a few days after their arrest, actually makes us less safer [sic]. I make people more likely to be arrested in the future for crimes. It destroys families.

SHANNON ROSS: It was literally a nightmare.

HOLT: Shannon Ross, a father of four was arrested in Chicago on a gun charge and spent four months in jail because he couldn’t afford to pay $7,500 to make bail. He was ultimately found not guilty.

ROSS: Everything. I literally lost everything. I lost my place to live. I lost my place to work. I lost my relationship.

HOLT: Shannon says he was a threat to no one.

Is there a quantifiable link between cashless bail and an increase in crime?

BILL BRATTON: Depends on who is advocating for what. You can use the statistics to tell one story or tell another. Myself I believe it has had an impact. It may take us more time to clearly define it.

HOLT: Bill Bratton has led police departments including New York, L.A., and Boston. He says crime is a nuanced issue, and politics is distorting it.

BRATTON: In this current election cycle locally and nationally, it has become a weapon. We’re dealing with fear. And I sense that the fear now is higher.

HOLT: But is the fear outsized by reality?

BRATTON: The fear actually is influenced by the perception and the reality.

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