Right-wingers knowingly distort quote by PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor

The video they’re spreading around clearly shows Alcindor quoting a Democrat’s funny line praising President-elect Biden’s cabinet picks — while they attribute the quote to her

Conservative media personalities are distorting a TV appearance by PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor to accuse her of giving a fawning comparison of President-elect Joe Biden’s recently announced national security cabinet picks to a superhero team. In fact, Alcindor was clearly describing these attitudes as she heard coming from Democrats and Biden supporters.

Right-wing commentator Tom Elliott posted a tweet with an embedded video of the exchange, writing: “PBS's @Yamiche: Biden's cabinet picks was like ‘The Avengers.’”

The video however, showed Alcindor commenting, “I was talking to a Democrat, who just said … it felt like The Avengers.” When Media Matters’ Parker Molloy called Elliott out for his disingenuous attribution, he responded “She’s quoting someone because she agrees, as her next sentence makes clear.” But the next sentence just clarified that Alcindor was explaining what the Democrat who spoke with her meant by the comparison.

Video file

Citation From the November 24, 2020, edition of MSNBC’s Deadline: White House

NICOLE WALLACE (ANCHOR): You know, Yamiche, it's — I don't know if it's just a sign of this moment, but to talk about diplomacy being back, to talk about Joe Biden's empathy and humanity, to talk about diplomacy being back, it is all an implicit rebuke of Donald Trump's foreign policy stewardship over the last four years.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR (WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NewsHour): That's right. And in just saying that they're going to do their jobs, and be good stewards of America's role in this world, and focus on American diplomacy, that in and of itself being a rebuke of President Trump has underscored what we've all been living through in the last four years, which is a president who wanted to be more isolationist, who wanted to pull back.

What we saw today — I was sitting in that room in Wilmington — I was thinking about the fact that Joe Biden in some ways, for supporters, is fulfilling the promises that he made on the campaign trail. He said he wanted to have a cabinet that looked like America, and there were people there on that stage — of course talking about all of their different accolades and their experience — but they were talking about their families, who survived the Holocaust, who survived coming from Cuba and fleeing communists, who talked about having "gumbo diplomacy," cooking food, cooking Southern food as the United Nations Ambassador was saying. All of those things are what America's about, it's this melting pot.

The other thing I'll just say, I was talking to a Democrat, who just said this also said it felt like The Avengers. It felt like we're being rescued from this craziness that we've all lived through from the last four years, and now here are the superheroes to come and save us all.

Multiple other right-wing personalities picked up Elliott’s tweet, often verging into sordid attacks against Alcindor. Podcaster Stephen L. Miller said, “Yamiche Alcindor is not a journalist.” New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz accused Alcindor of “fangirling” and declared that “obviously tax dollars shouldn’t fund any of this.” Townhall.com columnist Kurt Schlichter tweeted, “The establishment is full of stupid and unaccomplished people.”

The right-wing Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor said the video was “another example of why we need to #DefundPBS.” Meanwhile, the MRC official account offered up the line: “Not Black Panther, Black Pander.”