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White House condemns Fox News over ‘dangerous and extreme’ Holocaust comments from top host


by Oliver Darcy, CNN

New York (CNN) — The White House condemned Fox News on Tuesday over remarks made by one of its top hosts about the holocaust, denouncing the comments as a “horrid, dangerous, and extreme lie” that “insults the memory of the millions of people who suffered from the evils” committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

The comments, made by prime time host Greg Gutfeld, came during a discussion Monday on “The Five” about Florida’s new Black history standards that requires instruction for students include “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Jessica Tarlov, a liberal-leaning co-host on “The Five,” expressed disapproval of the new history standards and questioned whether arguments used to defend them would ever be made in regard to the Holocaust.

“I’m not Black, but I’m Jewish,” Tarlov said. “Would someone say about the Holocaust, for instance, that there were some benefits for Jews? That while they were hanging out in concentration camps, they learned a strong work ethic? That maybe you learned a new skill.”

Gutfeld replied, asking if Tarlov had read the “Man’s Search for Meaning,” a bestselling book written by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl who was imprisoned during the Holocaust and described the atrocities committed in concentration camps. In his book, Frankl detailed how people can cope with suffering and find meaning in the most horrific of circumstances.

“Frankl talks about how you had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills. You had to be useful,” Gutfeld told Tarlov. “Utility! Utility kept you alive!”

Gutfeld’s assertion immediately ignited criticism, including from the Auschwitz Memorial, which said in a statement, “Being skilled or useful did not spare [Jewish people] from the horrors of the gas chambers.”

On Tuesday, the White House weighed in, blasting the right-wing channel over its silence on Gutfeld’s comments.

“What Fox News allowed to be said on their air yesterday — and has so far failed to condemn — is an obscenity,” Andrew Bates, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement to CNN.

“In defending a horrid, dangerous, extreme lie that insults the memory of the millions of Americans who suffered from the evil of enslavement, a Fox News host told another horrid, dangerous and extreme lie that insults the memory of the millions of people who suffered from the evils of the Holocaust,” Bates continued.

“Let’s get something straight that the American people understand full well and that is not complicated: there was nothing good about slavery; there was nothing good about the Holocaust. Full stop,” Bates added. “Americans deserve to be brought together, not torn apart with poison. And they deserve the truth and the freedom to learn, not book bans and lies.”

A spokesperson for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.

Fox News has faced criticism in recent years for giving air to extreme rhetoric. The Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly — and sharply — criticized the network for mainstreaming “fringe” rhetoric. During the presidency of Donald Trump, the network trafficked in right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories — including giving air to dangerous lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Fox News debuted its revamped prime time lineup just last week, after inexplicably firing Tucker Carlson earlier this year. The new lineup, featuring a bloc of pro-Trump hosts, features Gutfeld helming the 10 p.m. ET hour.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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