On CNN's Reliable Sources, Jeff Greenfield shows how Stephen Miller's phrase “cosmopolitan bias” goes back to “Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini”

Greenfield:  “Its history goes back to Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, who used the term ... to suggest disloyalty”

From the August 6 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:

Video file

BRIAN STELTER (HOST): Jeff, you wrote about [senior adviser to the president Stephen] Miller's use of word “cosmopolitan” for Politico Magazine this week. Why is the use of that term, and accusing [CNN reporter Jim] Acosta of “cosmopolitan bias,” disturbing to people who have the historical ramifications of it? 

JEFF GREENFIELD: Its history goes back to Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, who used the term with a very heavy anti-Semitic overtone to suggest disloyalty. Cosmopolitan, you're not loyal to the traditions of this country or the religion. Now, in the column that I wrote, one mistake that I made was I thought I had made it clear that Stephen Miller's use of it is -- is divorced from anti-Semitism. I should have made that clear, particularly because Steve Miller is Jewish. But, what is true, I believe, is that even in modern day battles, particularly in Europe, “cosmopolitan” is like elitist on steroids. It means you don't -- you were loyal to something other than our national tradition, our church's tradition or religious tradition or our culture. It's the implication that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has about his enemies, that you're -- you're not really loyal to  “Mother Russia.”  And the fact that I've never heard it used in an American political debate, and the fact that Miller, along with [White House Chief Strategist] Steve Bannon, is part of what's called the nationalist wing of the Trump movement, I think is worth examining. 

STELTER: Many -- yeah.


STELTER: I was going to say the many conservative critics said Acosta crossed the line by challenging Miller the way he did. Did you think so? 

GREENFIELD: I'll give you a definite answer. I'm not sure. I think that the problem is the press in a situation like that is always at a kind of disadvantage because if you don't interrupt, then what you get is spin. If you do interrupt repeatedly you're seen as obstreperous or defining yourself as the opposition. So, having never had the privilege, if that's the right word of being in one of those White House briefing rooms, I don't know. 

STELTER: And now there's this report that the president's considering Miller for a communications's job. Think that means the president likes to see these battles. He wants people on TV defending him at all costs. 

GREENFIELD: Oh, I think -- I think that's for sure. He's always praising people who stick it to the press, and you can understand why. But I think that maybe another indication -- I don't know how to cover the court intrigues of the White House, but if the Miller-Bannon wing is, is --

STELTER: Ascendant right now, yeah.  

GREENFIELD: -- given more influence, and that wing is very strongly nationalistic, not anti-Semitic, but, meaning that our critics are, are not as -- I think it means that you're not as really patriotic. Remember --

STELTER: So we may hear more of that sort of rhetoric?

GREENFIELD: Remember Sarah Palin's line about real Americans? I think cosmopolitan means in one way or another, you're not a real American. 


Politico: The Ugly History of Stephen Miller’s ‘Cosmopolitan’ Epithet


Stephen Miller accused Jim Acosta of “cosmopolitan bias,” here is the term's ugly history

Pro-Trump trolls and white nationalists praise Stephen Miller’s nativist immigration presser

CNN's Jim Acosta challenges Trump adviser Stephen Miller over new legislation to curtail legal immigration